The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has sustained a protest where the Department of Justice (DOJ) increased the protesters level of effort to the same level of effort proposed by the successful vendor awarded a task order under a blanket purchase agreement (BPA). The DOJ had concluded that the protesters total labor hours were not sufficient to perform the task order's requirements. This made protester's price higher than the successful awardee's price and the Source Selection Authority (SSA) went for the lower price. The protest ensued and was sustained.
This was the second protest of this procurement. GAO sustained another protest by the protester because the record did not show that DOJ meaningfully considered the protesters lower price in its selection decision and because DOJ's past performance evaluation was unreasonable and inconsistent with the requirements of the solicitation. GAO recommended a new best value selection decision. The second protest followed.
GAO said that while it was mindful that, when an agency places an order under a BPA, limited documentation of the source selection is permissible, the agency must at least provide a sufficient record to show that the selection was reasonable. There are, after all, documentation requirements in FAR 8.405-2(e). Even procurements conducted under simplified acquisition procedures require a sufficient record for meaningful review.
"The record here provides no basis to support the agency's determination that NikSoft's level of effort or labor mix was insufficient to perform the first call, or to support its determination that NikSoft's level of effort should be increased to the same level of effort proposed by LS3." Conclusory statements were not enough.
GAO recommended still another best value determination and that the protester's costs including attorneys' fees be reimbursed.
Postscript: This is our last public blog posting. On August 31, 2012 we will restrict access to this site to subscribers of our new service at http://govconalert.com/. Please feel free to visit that site. The services offered include new articles and access to archived word searchable postings. WJS