There is a requirement for the federal agencies to award contracts belonging to the government in relation to the several acquisition laws, as well as, regulations. If any party who is interested in securing a government contract holds that an agency has inherently violated the procurement laws, he may file a bidding protest with the Government Accountability Office. Such violations are comprised of improperly soliciting for a good or service and in awarding a contract. The office provides an expeditious and also an inexpensive way of resolving bid protests. The following article will, in essence, choose a contract decision by the U.S Government Accountability Office and expound on it.
A review of various protest decisions by the United States General Accounting Office suggests that several agencies have failed in designing adequate competitive processes since they follow poor models and structures. Notably, the processes have, over time, evolved following the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 15. The FAR has a provision for the procedures, as well as, policies for negotiating government contracts. Its guidelines prescribe protection to both the entity and government which offers a proposal for possible consideration be it competitive or a non-competitive proposal as noted by Edwards (2016).
The FAR part 15 presents an overall ground regulation that ensures that the federal procurement system is well-run. It thus prescribes the rules that govern the design of the selection process and that of the source. FAR expressly mentions that it offers a description of the techniques, as well as, processes which agencies could use in conducting source selections. Most important is that the model holds two critical characteristics. The first is that each competitor is supposed to submit that is complete at the beginning of the competition. Secondly, the agency conducts negotiations with several firms.
Overview of a case
The case to be discussed involves the provision of an award by RFP for a contract touching on the construction, as well as, the design of services for upgrading an already available firing range. There was also building a new and a proper range located at the Fort Leonard in Missouri. The price quotation of one of the company's involved i.e. CSE was considered as being subtle for the estimates that the government had together with other available proposals. As a result, the agency considered it as an extreme case of a lack of understanding of the whole project thereby rejecting the proposal of the latter company.
Why did the protest occur?
The protest occurred because of an unequal evaluation of the proposals presented by the protesters and the awardees. It is the case since both firms provided same sparse information regarding a technical examination of a sub-factor. However, the proposal of the protester received a very low rating in comparison to the awardee. Basically, the results from the agency ought to have received proper ratings in accordance with the available proposals. In this light, biases was also a major contributor of the bid protest. Good articulation of the legislative principles of the agency was not applied during the acceptance of the proposal.
Besides, the price and also the technical evaluation of the entire project came center stage in the bidding protest. Price should not be the only variable that leads to the rejection of a proposal. On its part, the Federal Acquisition Regulation affirms is to make a reasonability regarding the prices especially when the proposed figures are higher than intended. The agency apprehended that the price was way too low to satisfactorily perform the contract. It also held that the construction company may have made a mistake while making its proposal. All these led to the bid protest in the Government Accountability Office.
Details surrounding the protest
Concerning a negotiated purchase for construction that is fixed in price and in which there was a technical trade-off, selecting the highly rated and highly priced proposal was regarded as being wholly unreasonable. The authority that was tasked with selecting the source never credited the protester for the substantial low price of a proposal. It, however, perceived that the low price of the protestor was not representative enough of the project and besides, that it demonstrated a lack of comprehension of the requirements of the contract. It was especially the case where solicitation never provided for evaluation.
The United States Government Accountability Office was reliably informed that the agency had a plan of making an award without holding discussions with both parties on grounds of a technical and a price tradeoff. Essentially, the technical factors of evaluation were stated as being more fundamental than the price of the contract which the agency had solely relied upon. Concerning the pricing that brought about the whole fiasco, the agency only requested for fixed costs that were made up of aspects of both design, as well as, construction work. It wasn’t thus possible that an offeror wouldn’t be selected as a result of an unbalanced price proposal.
FAR Part 15 regulations that permitted the protest
In order for the bid protest to be filed with the Government Accountability Office, some laws came in handy during the protest by the construction company. The regulations included an organization for the selection of the sources, preparation and issuance of requests regarding proposals, the actual exchange of information with the actual, as well as, respective offerors and consequent arriving at the selection of appropriate decisions concerning the whole procurement process. The presentation of a complete proposal also encouraged filing a bid protest because the conclusive information was provided.
The essence of these regulations lies in the fact that there is a particular threshold of information that an entity is supposed to provide before being offered a contract. Going by the above case, the company that was declined the proposal abided by all the legislative requirements. The regulations also hold that the agency should articulately make source decisions from the information that have been presented by the proposer as mentioned by Judson (2016). Therefore, the agency inherently failed to abide by the availed legislative practices thereby promptly allowing the protest by the CSE Construction Company. Lastly, similar cases where an award of a contract has been protested exists. For instance, Lockheed Martin protested the decision by the United Stated Army to award a contract for building a Humvee replacement by the Oshkosh. However, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) dismissed this protest on the count of a similar file with the US Federal Court.
The above article has enumerated that the American Government Accountability Office is highly essential for hearing the cases regarding bid protests. To achieve its usefulness, it has presented a case involving CSE Construction Enterprise and KCI Construction Company with the first protesting an award of a contract to the latter by a government agency. The report has presented details of the FAR Part 15, a general overview of the above case, reasons and circumstances surrounding the protest, the regulations of FAR Part 15 which allowed the bid protest and lastly, same cases where there a protest of an award.
Edwards, V. (2016). Competitive Processes in Government Contracting: The FAR Part 15 Process Model and Process Inefficiency. Wifcon.com. Retrieved 9 January 2016, from http://www.wifcon.com/anal/analcomproc.htm
Judson, J. (2016). GAO Dismisses Lockheed JLTV Protest, Cites Pending Litigation. Defense News. Retrieved 9 January 2016, from http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2015/12/15/gao-dismisses-lockheed-jltv-protest-cites-pending-litigation/77369220/