Review of Contract Award for Management of National Center for Research in Vocational Education

HRD-83-79: Published: Aug 31, 1983. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 1983.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed a contract awarded by the Department of Education for managing a center for research in vocational education.

The record showed that two organizations, the University of Tennessee and a research foundation of Ohio State University, submitted bids in response to the request for proposals. Five of seven members of a technical review panel composed of Education personnel evaluated the two proposals and gave the University of Tennessee higher point scores. Another panel formed by the Secretary of Education favored the proposal submitted by Ohio State. After best and final offers were submitted, the technical review panel met again, and all but one of its members recommended that award be made to the University of Tennessee. However, the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education recommended that award be made to Ohio State, even though its proposed cost was significantly higher, because its proposal included more activities and services directed to a broader range of vocational education communities. The contract was subsequently awarded to Ohio State. GAO stated that it has been established that a contracting officer is not bound by the recommendation of an advisory panel and, based on its review of the procedures followed in awarding the contract, it believed that the award to Ohio State complied with applicable procurement procedures.

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