B-170449(2), NOV. 17, 1970

B-170449(2): Nov 17, 1970

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SECRETARY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER AMCGC-P. ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO LAPOINTE. IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS. OFFERORS WERE INFORMED OF THE EVALUATION CRITERIA APPLICABLE TO THEIR PROPOSALS AND THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF THOSE CRITERIA THROUGH THE USE OF A STANDARD CLAUSE (USAECOM CONTRACT CLAUSE 516A-1. 1964) ENUMERATING CRITERIA WHICH WERE THEN DESCRIBED AS BEING OF "PRIMARY IMPORTANCE. THE NUMERICAL POINT VALUES ASSIGNED TO EACH CRITERION AND USED BY THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION TEAM WERE NOT DISCLOSED TO OFFERORS. WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE THAT THE EVALUATION WAS CONDUCTED IN OTHER THAN GOOD FAITH. A COMPARISON OF THE EVALUATION TEAM'S SCORE SHEET (ENTITLED "WEIGHTED TECHNICAL MERIT") WITH USAECOM CONTRACT CLAUSE 516A-1 SHOWS THAT THREE OF THE CRITERIA APPEARING IN THAT CLAUSE WERE ASSIGNED POINT VALUES OF ZERO.

B-170449(2), NOV. 17, 1970

BID PROTEST COMMENTS ON NEED TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION IN FUTURE TO FURNISH OFFERORS WITH RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF EVALUATION CRITERIA.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER AMCGC-P, DATED SEPTEMBER 16, 1970, FROM THE ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL, HEADQUARTERS, ARMY MATERIEL COMMAND, FURNISHING A REPORT ON A PROTEST BY LAPOINTE INDUSTRIES, INC., AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO AVCO CORP. UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. DAAB-07-70-Q- 0347, ISSUED BY THE ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND, FORT MONMOUTH, NEW JERSEY.

ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO LAPOINTE, DENYING THAT FIRM'S PROTEST. YOUR ATTENTION, HOWEVER, IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS.

OFFERORS WERE INFORMED OF THE EVALUATION CRITERIA APPLICABLE TO THEIR PROPOSALS AND THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF THOSE CRITERIA THROUGH THE USE OF A STANDARD CLAUSE (USAECOM CONTRACT CLAUSE 516A-1, JULY 13, 1964) ENUMERATING CRITERIA WHICH WERE THEN DESCRIBED AS BEING OF "PRIMARY IMPORTANCE," "SECONDARY IMPORTANCE," AND "NEXT IN IMPORTANCE, IN DESCENDING ORDER." THE NUMERICAL POINT VALUES ASSIGNED TO EACH CRITERION AND USED BY THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION TEAM WERE NOT DISCLOSED TO OFFERORS.

THE TECHNICAL EVALUATORS ADHERED TO THE ORDER OF IMPORTANCE STATED IN THE SOLICITATION, AND WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE THAT THE EVALUATION WAS CONDUCTED IN OTHER THAN GOOD FAITH. HOWEVER, A COMPARISON OF THE EVALUATION TEAM'S SCORE SHEET (ENTITLED "WEIGHTED TECHNICAL MERIT") WITH USAECOM CONTRACT CLAUSE 516A-1 SHOWS THAT THREE OF THE CRITERIA APPEARING IN THAT CLAUSE WERE ASSIGNED POINT VALUES OF ZERO. SINCE NO WEIGHT WAS PLACED UPON THESE CRITERIA, WE BELIEVE THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN DELETED FROM USAECOM CONTRACT CLAUSE 516A-1. THE SOLICITATION CORRECTLY REPRESENTED TWO CRITERIA, EACH OF WHICH BORE A MAXIMUM POINT VALUE OF 15, TO BE OF "SECONDARY IMPORTANCE." IN OUR OPINION, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DESIRABLE TO HAVE EXPLICITLY STATED NOT ONLY THAT THESE CRITERIA WERE OF SECONDARY IMPORTANCE, BUT THAT THEY WERE OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER. THREE CRITERIA WERE DESCRIBED AS BEING "NEXT IN IMPORTANCE, IN DESCENDING ORDER." EACH OF TWO OF THEM HAD A MAXIMUM POINT VALUE OF 10, AND THE THIRD WAS ASSIGNED A VALUE OF ZERO. A MORE ACCURATE EXPRESSION IN USAECOM CONTRACT CLAUSE 516A-1 WOULD HAVE BEEN TO DELETE THE CRITERION WITH A ZERO VALUE AND TO HAVE INDICATED THE OTHER TWO CRITERIA WERE OF TERTIARY IMPORTANCE AND OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER.

THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF EVALUATION CRITERIA MAY BE EXPRESSED NARRATIVELY, AS WELL AS THROUGH THE DISCLOSURE OF THE EXACT POINT VALUES TO BE USED IN A POINT RANKING SYSTEM. HOWEVER, THE FOREGOING ILLUSTRATES THAT A NARRATIVE EXPRESSION OF RELATIVE IMPORTANCE, ESPECIALLY WHEN USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH A STANDARDIZED FORM DEVISED FOR A NUMBER OF PROCUREMENTS, MUST BE DRAFTED WITH EXTREME CARE IF IT IS TO BE ACCURATE. ALTHOUGH WE ARE NOT DISTURBING THE AWARD IN THE INSTANT CASE, WE SUGGEST THAT APPROPRIATE ACTION BE TAKEN TO PRECLUDE THE RECURRENCE OF SIMILAR DEFICIENCIES IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS.

THE ENCLOSURES TO THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 16 ARE RETURNED.