Protest of HHS Contract Award

B-200386: Mar 5, 1981

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A company protested the award of a research contract by the Department of Health and Human Services. The company alleged that the awardee did not demonstrate its ability to secure the necessary cooperation of the persons who were the subject of the research. The company also alleged that there was bias on the part of the proposal evaluators and in connection with the agency's affirmative determination of the awardee's responsibility. Although the record was not clear as to when the company learned the basis for protest concerning its first allegation, GAO concluded that the company did not diligently pursue the matter when it should have. Since the protest was clearly filed more than 10 days after the company should have known of the basis for protest, it was untimely. The company's allegation of bias on the part of the proposal reviewers was based on speculation; therefore, the company did not meet its burden of affirmatively proving its case. Similarly, the company's mere allegation of bias concerning the procuring officials' affirmative determination of the awardee's responsibility did not satisfy the company's burden of proof. The company also complained that it was not notified of the contract award until well after the award date. Since the failure to promptly notify the company of the award was a procedural irregularity, it did not affect the validity of the award. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.

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