GAO Technical Bid Evaluation Criteria Protest Evaluator Scoring of Proposals
Technical proposal writing criteria for federal government contracts can lead to a GAO bid protest on the issue of technical evaluation criteria and the evaluation scoring. You can only prevail in a protest by showing that the agency record fails to demonstrate a reasonable basis for several of the agency’s evaluation findings, or that the agency fails to prove that the agency assigned ratings in an even-handed manner.
When reading the solicitation, you must adapt your technical proposal writing skills to discuss the rating criteria and definitions set forth in the solicitation.
Although there are lower weights for various factors and/ or sub-factors, you should always write as though, each group was the only basis for award.
More specifically, technical bid evaluation criteria should articulate whether yours, or the awardee’s, approach create a significant weakness or no weakness – depending on the solicitation’s stated criteria. A substantial amount of government contractors make this huge mistake in their technical proposal writing efforts.
The agency looks at common issues to decide whether your technical evaluation presents risk. This includes:
- amount of staffing proposed;
- number of hours proposed;
- whether you specific technical approach runs the risk of non-performance;
- additional costs to the government etc.
If you do not adopt these subtle approaches to your government proposal writing efforts, even if you are awarded the contract, your competition can file a GAO protest that challenges the agency technical evaluation, and the evaluator’s scoring.
For example, a protestor may see that there are several instances of similar weaknesses assessed in the proposals of other bids that were not characterized as “significant weaknesses” given the solicitation’s technical evaluation criteria requirements. It is too late at the point to wish that you had taken a different technical writing approach.
The agency almost always states its rationale for finding the weakness in your proposal to be significant was that it could potentially lead to ineffective performance, the key for an experience bid protest lawyer is to find a weakness in the competitions technical proposal that could also lead to ineffective performance, yet the government fails to address the similar weakness during its technical evaluation and evaluator scoring. See information about protesting technically unacceptable proposals.
Tips for Better Technical Bid Evaluation Scores
- Your technical proposal should address how you will obtain equipment that is critical to performance. See Motorola Solutions, Inc, File: B-409148; B-409148.2;
- Make sure that your past performance or technical experience is within the years specified by the agency. See Exelis Systems Corporation, File: B-407111.5; B-407111.6; B-407111.7.
Technical bid evaluation and evaluator scoring must always have the legal effect of treating your bids equally. This means that government contracting agencies must evaluate offers in an even-handed manner. Agencies should not evaluate technical proposals that allow one bidder an advantage over another.
GAO decided this point in the case of Tidewater Homes Realty, Inc., B-274689, Dec. 26, 1996, 96-2 CPD ¶ 241 at 3. The agency must reasonably document its rationale and scoring decisions in accordance to the stated solicitation’s technical evaluation criteria and scoring scheme.
For proposal writing purposes, you must carefully assess your technical approach and anticipate how the agency, or your completion in a bid protest, could find weaknesses that are similar to those anticipate in the solicitation’s technical bid evaluation and evaluator scoring. These are all essential skills for learning how to write a proposal for government contracts.
For additional help with your technical bid evaluation criteria and scoring at the proposal writing stage, or for a GAO bid protest, call our lawyers and consultants at 1-866-601-5518.
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