Protest of U.S. Military Academy Contract Award

B-200839: May 19, 1981

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A firm protested the award of a contract contending that the award was not based on the requirements and evaluation criteria set forth in the request for proposals (RFP); that there were certain other irregularities in the negotiations and award processes; and that the firm was discriminated against because it was a minority, female-owned and operated firm. The protester alleged that its proposal was not judged against the requirements of the RFP, and that oral statements led it to believe that the agency was intending to change its job specification. Because of this, the protester explained in its best and final offer how it would modify its proposal to meet the verbal requirements. The agency responded that there was no change in the scope of work as described in the RFP and no oral departures from the written scope of work were made. All proposals were judged against the terms of the written RFP. GAO found that a comprehensive technical evaluation of proposals was made in accordance with the criteria set forth in the RFP. The only evidence with regard to the alleged oral representation of the agency was conflicting statements of the agency and the protester, thus the protester did not affirmatively prove its case that it would have been prejudiced by what allegedly transpired during the oral discussions. Questions concerning the time of notice, arbitrary setting of the date, and content of the oral sessions were raised more than 10 working days from the time the basis of the protest was known. An allegation that the firm was given insufficient notice of when best and final offers were due was untimely as it should have been filed prior to the next closing date for the receipt of proposals. There is no requirement for written notice of an award for contracts for personal or professional services. A written request by an unsuccessful offeror generally is necessary before a debriefing will be provided. The agency did not receive such a request from the protester and thus no debriefing was required. A protest against the agency's refusal to provide it with information should be pursued by using the disclosure remedy provided by the Freedom of Information Act. Allegations of discrimination were unsupported by evidence and therefore denied. The protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.