In its first published bid protest sustain decision of the new year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights agencies’ obligation to adequately document a substantive analysis of proposals against the solicitation requirements, even in FAR Part 16.5 procurements. In SierTeK-Peerless JV LLC, B-422085, B-422085.2, Jan. 2, 2024, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducted a task order competition for property management support services among OASIS 8(a) pool 1 contract holders. The solicitation required TSA to assess the size and scope of offerors’ prior experience as compared to the solicited task order requirements. SierTeK-Peerless, the unsuccessful offeror, challenged TSA’s award to Strativia, arguing in a supplemental protest that the agency’s evaluation of the awardee’s prior experience was flawed because TSA failed to reasonably assess the similarity of Strativia’s prior experience.
GAO sustained the protest and, in doing so, emphasized—not for the first time—that agencies must document a substantive analysis of offerors’ proposals against the solicitation requirements, even when conducting a non-FAR Part 15 procurement. (Click here for our discussion of another recent sustain decision on the same topic.) Although TSA’s documentation noted some aspects of the awardee’s prior work bearing on size and scope (such as the numbers of material coordinators, accountable property record items and equipment accounts, vehicles, and facilities), GAO explained that this was insufficient because the technical evaluation team’s report “largely just restate[d] the contents of [the awardee’s] proposal without further analysis or elaboration.” Rather than simply noting aspects of the prior projects that bore upon size and scope, the agency was required to document its analysis of these elements and explain why and how the prior work was—or was not—similar to the solicited requirements. Given the absence of that analysis, GAO sustained the protest and recommended that TSA reevaluate proposals in the manner required by the solicitation.
We would like to thank Cherie J. Owen, Consultant, for her contribution to this alert.