Without a grasp of the commonly used best value source selection criteria and evaluation factors in agency source selection evaluations, protestors often find themselves at a disadvantage during the litigation stages.
Although companies may disagree with the results of the government’s best value source selection evaluation criteria, extreme care must be taken when filing a bid protest either at GAO or U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
- To prevail in a bid protest, companies must have a better understanding of how the agency uses its source selection evaluation criteria to score proposals.
Often, and depending on the solicitation’s weighted source selection criteria in a negotiated procurement, government contract agencies tend to overlook valid technical strengths in the government best value determination process or when bidders offer more than what the solicitation requires.
- Not all offerings are of value to the government, and
- It is up to you to explain why your particular approach would be of a better value.
Commonly used evaluation factors in the government’s best value source selection process and contracting by negotiation criteria can include:
- Better past performance;
- Higher rated technical proposal evaluations;
- More qualified key personnel that what the RFP calls for;
- Less risky management approach.
There are obviously more factors that an agency may consider. When an agency fails to reasonably consider your technical strengths in its best value criteria, GAO could very well sustain your protest. See Matter of U S Information Technologies Corporation, File: B-404357; B-404357.2, February 2, 2011.
Commonly Used Contracting By Negotiation Evaluation Factors in Best Value Source Selection Criteria
GAO has previously ruled that when a solicitation anticipates the use of a negotiated best value evaluation plan–as opposed to selection based on lowest price and technical acceptability, evaluation of quotations is not limited to determining whether a quotation is merely technically acceptable.
Quotations should be further differentiated to distinguish their relative quality under each stated source selection criteria and evaluation factor by considering the degree to which technically acceptable quotations exceed the stated minimum requirements or will better satisfy the agency’s needs. Read more about contracting by negotiation.
- When looking for flaws in the agency’s evaluation factors in a best value procurement selection, always look to see whether the source selection evaluation board merely compared ratings and nothing more.
How GAO Looks at Government Best Value Source Selection Evaluation Criteria
GAO in many cases has stated that evaluation ratings within the best value source selection process should be merely guides for intelligent decision-making.
Therefore, source selection evaluation officials should reasonably consider the underlying bases for ratings, including the advantages and disadvantages associated with the specific content of competing quotations, in a manner that is fair and equitable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation. See Systems Research and Applications Corp.; Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., B-299818 et al., Sept. 6, 2007, 2008 CPD para. 28 at 24.
GAO also looks to see if the government’s evaluation of its source selection criteria was reasonable and in line with the solicitation’s stated requirements. Find out more about agency source selection plans.
Although there are commonly used evaluation factors in contracting by negotiation and government best value determination and evaluation criteria, government contracting agencies do make mistakes.
Therefore, your approach to filing a bid protest must be carefully planned. Agencies do have wide latitude in how they make evaluation decisions.
For help filing a protest based upon improper agency use of evaluation factors and best value source selection criteria or process, call our government contract GAO protest lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.