Federal government contractors should be well aware that not all technical proposals receive a higher evaluation score or additional technical strength simply because the company added more than what the solicitation called for.
Although you may have truly included more than what the government called for, there are still additional requirements to be shown in a bid protest. Without a deep analysis of how a technical proposal is evaluated, companies can run into dangerous landmines during bid protest litigation
Although you may have truly included more than what the government called for, there are still additional requirements to be shown in a bid protest. Without a deep analysis of how technical proposals are evaluated, companies can run into dangerous landmines during bid protest litigation
In the Matter of Enterprise Resource Planned Systems International, LLC File: B-413805.5; B-413805.6, GAO denied the contractor’s protest that alleged failure to assess additional technical strengths, failure to disqualify the awardee based on organizational conflicts of interests and failure to find the awardee non-responsible.
When protesting the federal government agency’s technical evaluation with allegations that the source selection team failed to assess additional strengths to your proposal due to additional key personnel, companies must first understand when additional technical strengths are warranted. GAO denied a bid protest for this very reason.
When a government contracting agency evaluates contractor technical proposals, simply stating that your proposal contains more than what the proposal calls for will not win the protest. Instead, as GAO stated, assigned strengths that exceeded the solicitation requirements must be in a manner that must be deemed to be meaningfully beneficial to the government.
Of course, a finding that the source selection team never even considered the information submitted in the bid could be a stronger argument in your protest. However, if the government decides that the alleged strength has no value to the agency, then the protest will more than likely fail.
A protester’s disagreement with the agency’s judgment, by itself, is insufficient to establish that an agency acted unreasonably. GAO always suggests that the evaluation of technical proposals is a matter within the discretion of the procuring agency. It will only review the record for an unreasonable basis or agency review that is inconsistent with the solicitation. See Hardiman Remediation Servs., Inc., B-402838, Aug. 16, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 195 at 3.
What is an additional technical proposal strength? Each solicitation is different. However, the analysis starts with whether or not your bid contains substantive information that was over and beyond what the solicitation called for. Companies should consider including some level of explanation in their proposal of how the “additional technical strength” would benefit the government. With this said, the agency may not reach the same conclusion.
- If your proposal has received the highest technical evaluation score, an argument for additional technical strengths could be weak.
- If the awardee has the same technical proposal evaluation score, there is a possibility the additional technical strength argument could prevail during the best value trade off stage.
This case should send a message to bidders that they should carefully analyze the agency’s evaluation based on the solicitation requirements and not subjective thinking. Federal agencies have vast latitude when deciding what proposals merit government contract awards.