B-167175, OCTOBER 13, 1969, 49 COMP. GEN. 229

B-167175: Oct 13, 1969

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PROPRIETY OF EVALUATION EVALUATING A PROPOSAL ON A MATHEMATICAL BASIS APPLYING DETAILED AND RIGID REQUIREMENTS WHERE THE SOLICITATION FOR THE STUDY OF THE FEASIBILITY OF AUTOMATING AN AIR FORCE OPERATION WAS STATED IN BROAD. GENERAL TERMS AND OFFERORS WERE NOT SUFFICIENTLY INFORMED OF THE EVALUATION FACTORS TO BE USED AND THE RELATIVE WEIGHT TO BE ATTACHED TO EACH. WAS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 3-501(B) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION THAT "SOLICITATIONS SHALL CONTAIN THE INFORMATION NECESSARY TO ENABLE A PROSPECTIVE OFFEROR TO PREPARE A PROPOSAL OR QUOTATION PROPERLY.". APPROPRIATE ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS TO ASSURE THAT WHEN A MATHEMATICAL FORMULA EVALUATION IS TO BE USED.

B-167175, OCTOBER 13, 1969, 49 COMP. GEN. 229

CONTRACTS -- NEGOTIATION -- EVALUATION FACTORS -- POINT RATING -- PROPRIETY OF EVALUATION EVALUATING A PROPOSAL ON A MATHEMATICAL BASIS APPLYING DETAILED AND RIGID REQUIREMENTS WHERE THE SOLICITATION FOR THE STUDY OF THE FEASIBILITY OF AUTOMATING AN AIR FORCE OPERATION WAS STATED IN BROAD, GENERAL TERMS AND OFFERORS WERE NOT SUFFICIENTLY INFORMED OF THE EVALUATION FACTORS TO BE USED AND THE RELATIVE WEIGHT TO BE ATTACHED TO EACH, WAS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 3-501(B) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION THAT "SOLICITATIONS SHALL CONTAIN THE INFORMATION NECESSARY TO ENABLE A PROSPECTIVE OFFEROR TO PREPARE A PROPOSAL OR QUOTATION PROPERLY." APPROPRIATE ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS TO ASSURE THAT WHEN A MATHEMATICAL FORMULA EVALUATION IS TO BE USED, OFFERORS WILL BE INFORMED OF THE MAJOR FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED AND THE BROAD SCHEME OF SCORING TO BE EMPLOYED, AND WHETHER OR NOT NUMERICAL RATINGS ARE USED, INFORMATION SHOULD BE FURNISHED OF MINIMUM EVALUATION STANDARDS AND THE DEGREE OF IMPORTANCE TO BE ACCORDED TO PARTICULAR FACTORS IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, OCTOBER 13, 1969:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A REPORT DATED AUGUST 25, 1969, BY THE CHIEF, PROCUREMENT OPERATIONS DIVISION, RELATIVE TO THE PROTEST BY BERKELEY SCIENTIFIC LABORATORIES, INC., AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) F41609-69-R-0036, ISSUED JANUARY 6, 1969, BY THE AEROSPACE MEDICAL DIVISION, BROOKS AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS. THE REFERENCED RFP SOLICITED PROPOSALS ON A COST-PLUS-FIXED-FEE BASIS FOR A 9 MONTHS FEASIBILITY STUDY OF AUTOMATING THE 74 ARMED FORCES ENTRANCE AND EXAMINATION STATIONS (AFEES), PLUS A PROTOTYPE SYSTEM PLAN WITH ESTIMATED COST.

BERKELEY SCIENTIFIC LABORATORIES, INC., HAS PROTESTED AGAINST "THE MANNER IN WHICH TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS IN THIS HIGHLY TECHNICAL FIELD WAS PERFORMED" AS WELL AS "THE WISDOM OF THIS PROCUREMENT AND WHETHER OR NOT IT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AS THE OBJECTIVES OF THIS PROJECT ARE NOW UNDERSTOOD."

ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF A LETTER OF TODAY TO THE PROTESTANT. WHILE FOR THE REASONS STATED WE FIND NO BASIS FOR INTERFERING WITH THE PROCUREMENT IN THIS INSTANCE, WE BELIEVE, AS INDICATED THEREIN, THAT THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS SHOULD HAVE CONTAINED A CLEARER INDICATION OF JUST WHAT OFFERORS WERE EXPECTED TO INCLUDE IN THEIR PROPOSALS, AND OF THE DETAILS OF THE EVALUATION PROCESS.

AMEND SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) 3-501(B) REQUIRES THAT "SOLICITATIONS SHALL CONTAIN THE INFORMATION NECESSARY TO ENABLE A PROSPECTIVE OFFEROR TO PREPARE A PROPOSAL OR QUOTATION PROPERLY." AS TO THE EVALUATION PROCESS, WE HAVE SEVERAL TIMES STATED THAT WHEN A POINT EVALUATION FORMULA IS TO BE USED, SOUND PROCUREMENT POLICY DICTATES THAT OFFERORS SHOULD BE INFORMED AS TO THE EVALUATION FACTORS AND THE RELATIVE WEIGHT OR IMPORTANCE TO BE ATTACHED TO EACH FACTOR. SEE B-166213(2), JULY 18, 1969; B-166052(2), MAY 20, 1969; 44 COMP. GEN. 493 (1965); 47 ID. 252 (1967); ID. 336 (1967).

THE RECORD OF THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT INDICATES THAT, WHILE THE AMENDED RFP IN PARAGRAPH 33 STATED THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS IN BROAD, GENERAL TERMS, THE TECHNICAL REASONS ADVANCED FOR REJECTION OF BERKELEY SCIENTIFIC LABORATORIES, INC., PROPOSAL APPEAR TO INDICATE THE APPLICATION OF RATHER DETAILED AND RIGID REQUIREMENTS. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE MERE STATEMENT IN PARAGRAPH 33 THAT "GREATEST EMPHASIS SHALL BE PLACED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA IN THE ORDER LISTED," DOES NOT SUFFICE TO INFORM OFFERORS OF THE ACTUAL EVALUATION FACTORS USED, OR OF THE RELATIVE WEIGHTS ATTACHED TO EACH FACTOR. WHILE WE HAVE NEVER HELD, AND DO NOT NOW INTEND TO DO SO, THAT ANY MATHEMATICAL FORMULA IS REQUIRED TO BE USED IN THE EVALUATION PROCESS, WE BELIEVE THAT WHEN IT IS INTENDED THAT NUMERICAL RATINGS WILL BE EMPLOYED OFFERORS SHOULD BE INFORMED OF AT LEAST THE MAJOR FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED AND THE BROAD SCHEME OF SCORING TO BE EMPLOYED. WHETHER OR NOT NUMERICAL RATINGS ARE TO BE USED, WE BELIEVE THAT NOTICE SHOULD BE GIVEN AS TO ANY MINIMUM STANDARDS WHICH WILL BE REQUIRED AS TO ANY PARTICULAR ELEMENT OF EVALUATION, AS WELL AS REASONABLY DEFINITE INFORMATION AS TO THE DEGREE OF IMPORTANCE TO BE ACCORDED TO PARTICULAR FACTORS IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER. WE THEREFORE SUGGEST THAT APPROPRIATE ACTION BE TAKEN TO ASSURE THAT OFFERORS IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS ARE ADVISED OF THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF EVALUATION FACTORS, AS SET OUT ABOVE.

THE FILE FORWARDED WITH THE REPORT OF AUGUST 25 IS RETURNED.