B-173267, DEC 7, 1971

B-173267: Dec 7, 1971

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ALTHOUGH THE LOWEST PRICE IS OFTEN DETERMINATIVE IN GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENTS. PROTEST IS DENIED. INCORPORATED: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 11. THE CLOSING DATE FOR THE RECEIPT OF PROPOSALS WAS MARCH 11. THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IS TO BE PROVIDED TO SELECTED STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS OF THE UNITED STATES ARE DIVIDED INTO TEN DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REGIONS AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE REGIONS HAVE BEEN COMBINED INTO THREE REGIONAL CLUSTERS FOR THIS PROCUREMENT. THE NUMBER AND TYPES OF PROFESSIONAL STAFF (SPECIALISTS AND GENERALISTS) WHO WILL WORK FULL-TIME ON THE CONTRACT. (1-90 POINTS) "3. IF WORK IS SUB-CONTRACTED. THE NUMBER AND TYPES OF PROFESSIONAL STAFF WHO WILL WORK FULL TIME ON THE SUB-CONTRACTS. (1-30 POINTS) "5.

B-173267, DEC 7, 1971

BID PROTEST - EVALUATION AND AWARD ON BASIS OTHER THAN PRICE DECISION DENYING PROTEST OF VOLT INFORMATION SCIENCES, INC. AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION UNDER AN RFP ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE DEPARTMENT'S PUBLIC SERVICE CAREERS PROGRAMS IN THE REGIONAL AREAS. ALTHOUGH THE LOWEST PRICE IS OFTEN DETERMINATIVE IN GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENTS, AWARD MAY BE INFLUENCED BY GREATER VALUE TO THE GOVERNMENT IN TERMS OF PERFORMANCE, ULTIMATE PRODUCIBILITY AND OTHER FACTORS. THE RFP STATED THAT AWARD WOULD NOT BE MADE ON THE LOWEST PROPOSED FEE, BUT ON OTHER LISTED TECHNICAL CRITERIA REQUIRED FOR PERFORMANCE. UPON THE RECORD, NO LEGAL OBJECTION EXISTS AS TO THE AWARD; THEREFORE, PROTEST IS DENIED.

TO VOLT INFORMATION SCIENCES, INCORPORATED:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 11, 1971, PROTESTING AWARD OF CONTRACT NO. 11-1-429-000 TO THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS NO. ONP-71- 8.

NOTICE OF THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL APPEARED IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY ON FEBRUARY 23, 1971. THE CLOSING DATE FOR THE RECEIPT OF PROPOSALS WAS MARCH 11, 1971. APPROXIMATELY 300 FIRMS RESPONDED TO THE NOTICE. THE SOLICITATION REQUESTED PROPOSALS TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR'S PUBLIC SERVICE CAREERS PROGRAM IN THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REGIONAL AREAS. THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IS TO BE PROVIDED TO SELECTED STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, INDEPENDENT SPECIAL DISTRICTS AND FEDERAL GRANT-IN-AID AGENCIES TO AID IN IMPLEMENTING PROJECTS FUNDED UNDER THE PUBLIC SERVICE CAREERS PROGRAM, A MANPOWER PROGRAM DESIGNED TO SECURE, WITHIN MERIT PRINCIPLES, PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT FOR DISADVANTAGED PERSONS IN PUBLIC SERVICE AGENCIES. THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS OF THE UNITED STATES ARE DIVIDED INTO TEN DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REGIONS AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE REGIONS HAVE BEEN COMBINED INTO THREE REGIONAL CLUSTERS FOR THIS PROCUREMENT. THE DISPUTE HERE CONCERNS CLUSTER I (REGIONS I, II AND V) AND CLUSTER II (REGIONS III, IV, VI AND THE D.C.).

THE RFP STATED THAT THE PROPOSALS WOULD BE EVALUATED ON THE FOLLOWING BASES, WITH THE INDICATED POINT RATINGS:

"1. THE DEMONSTRATED UNDERSTANDING AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CONTRACTOR'S PROPOSED STAFF IN THE THREE SPECIALTIES: HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT; EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING; AND PROJECT ADMINISTRATION.

(1-90 POINTS)

"2. THE NUMBER AND TYPES OF PROFESSIONAL STAFF (SPECIALISTS AND GENERALISTS) WHO WILL WORK FULL-TIME ON THE CONTRACT. (1-90 POINTS)

"3. THE CREATIVITY, PRACTICALITY, AND PROBABLE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE APPROACHES AND TECHNIQUES PROPOSED FOR THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO BE PROVIDED.

(1-40 POINTS)

"4. IF WORK IS SUB-CONTRACTED, THE QUALITY, EXPERIENCE AND REPUTATION OF ALL SUB-CONTRACTORS LISTED IN THE PROPOSAL, AS FOLLOWS:

A. THE UNDERSTANDING AND EFFECTIVENESS OF SUB-CONTRACTORS' STAFF IN ANY OF THE THREE SPECIALTY AREAS; (1-30 POINTS)

B. THE NUMBER AND TYPES OF PROFESSIONAL STAFF WHO WILL WORK FULL TIME ON THE SUB-CONTRACTS.

(1-30 POINTS)

"5. THE PAST PERFORMANCE OF THE OFFEROR IN PROVIDING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE OF THIS TYPE, FROM THE INFORMATION GIVEN BY THE OFFEROR ON ALL ON-GOING OR FORMER FEDERAL CONTRACTS (INCLUDING THE NAMES OF GARS AND PROJECT OFFICERS) SO THAT THE QUALITY OF HIS PAST PERFORMANCE CAN BE DETERMINED.

(1-30 POINTS)

"6. THE CONTRACTOR'S ABILITY TO BEGIN PRODUCTIVE WORK QUICKLY, WITHOUT DELAY OR EXCESSIVE GEARING-UP TIME. (1-15 POINTS)

"7. THE DEGREE TO WHICH THE PROPOSAL DESCRIBES AND SHOWS AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE PURPOSES, COMPLEXITIES, AND NEEDS OF PSC AND HOW TRAINING PROJECTS CAN BE CARRIED OUT SUCCESSFULLY IN THE PSC FRAMEWORK.

(1-10 POINTS)

"8. COMPREHENSIVENESS, FEASIBILITY, AND THOROUGHNESS OF THE PROPOSED EFFORT IN RELATION TO ITS COST. (1-5 POINTS)

"9. THE RELATIVE PRICE ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT. (1-5 POINTS)"

IT IS REPORTED THAT RESPONSIVE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FROM 20 OFFERORS AND WERE FORWARDED TO A REVIEW AND RATING PANEL OF FIVE MEMBERS. ALL PROPOSALS WERE RATED ON THE ABOVE CRITERIA WITH THE EXCEPTION OF NUMBER 4. NUMBER 4 WAS NOT USED IN THE EVALUATION, SINCE THE MEASUREMENT FOR THIS CRITERION WAS BASED ON STAFF QUALITY, AND, WAS ALREADY COVERED BY CRITERION NUMBER 2. IN ADDITION, THE REPORT CONTINUES, IT WAS DECIDED THAT CRITERION NUMBER 5 WOULD ONLY BE USED TO DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN OFFERORS IN THE EVENT OF A CLOSE CONTEST. THE SCORING OR EVALUATION PROCEDURE WAS IN TWO PHASES. PHASE ONE EVALUATED EACH PROPOSAL FOR ITS TECHNICAL COMPETENCE AND ENCOMPASSED CRITERIA 1, 2, 3, 6 AND 7. PHASE 2 COVERED THE FACTORS FOR PRICE (CRITERIA 8 AND 9) THE POINTS FOR WHICH WERE ADDED IN AFTER THE DETERMINATION WAS MADE CONCERNING THE COMPETITIVE RANGE OF SCORES ON PHASE ONE.

THE SCORING ON PHASE ONE OF VOLT INFORMATION SCIENCES (ETRS) AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (SDC) FOR CLUSTERS I AND II (VOLT'S PROPOSAL WAS LIMITED TO CLUSTERS I AND II) ARE REPORTED AS FOLLOWS:

HIGHEST VOLT (ETRS) SDC

CRITERIA ON TECHNICAL POSSIBLE CLUSTER CLUSTER

COMPETENCE SCORE I II I II

1. FIRM'S SPECIALTIES 450 152 152 409 409

2. STAFF SPECIALTIES 450 163 160 415 415

3. PROPOSAL DESIGN 200 85 85 175 175

6. START UP TIME 75 55 55 75 75

7. KNOWLEDGE OF PROGRAM 50 45 45 48 48

TOTAL SCORE 1,225 500 497 1,122 1,122

A CONTRACT FOR THE PROJECT WAS AWARDED TO SDC ON MAY 21, 1971.

PARAGRAPH 1-3.805-1 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT " *** WHILE THE LOWEST PRICE OR LOWEST COST TO THE GOVERNMENT IS PROPERLY THE DECIDING FACTOR IN SOURCE SELECTION, IN MANY INSTANCES, AWARD OF A CONTRACT PROPERLY MAY BE INFLUENCED BY THE PROPOSAL WHICH PROMISES THE GREATEST VALUE TO THE GOVERNMENT IN TERMS OF PASSABLE PERFORMANCE, ULTIMATE PRODUCIBILITY, GROWTH POTENTIAL, AND OTHER FACTORS. (A) AFTER RECEIPT OF INITIAL PROPOSALS, WRITTEN OR ORAL DISCUSSIONS SHALL BE CONDUCTED WITH ALL RESPONSIBLE OFFERORS WHO SUBMITTED PROPOSALS WITHIN A COMPETITIVE RANGE, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED *** ."

THE RFP STATED THAT ANY RESULTING CONTRACT WOULD BE ON A COST REIMBURSEMENT BASIS. FPR 1-3.805-2 STATES THAT A COST-REIMBURSEMENT TYPE CONTRACT NEED NOT BE AWARDED ON THE BASIS OF LOWEST PROPOSED COST, LOWEST PROPOSED FEE OR LOWEST TOTAL OF FEE AND COST. THE PROVISION ALSO NOTES THAT PRIMARY EMPHASIS ON ESTIMATED COST IN SUCH CONTRACTS MAY ENCOURAGE THE SUBMISSION OF UNREALISTICALLY LOW ESTIMATES. IT ALSO POINTS OUT THE IMPORTANCE OF A REALISTIC COST ESTIMATE IN APPRAISING THE OFFEROR'S UNDERSTANDING OF AND ABILITY TO PERFORM THE PROJECT.

ON THE BASIS OF THE RECORD WE FIND NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE CONTRACT AWARD. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES EXISTING HERE, WE MUST DENY YOUR PROTEST.