Contract Award Protest

B-204562: Nov 3, 1981

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A firm protested the award of a contract to any other firm by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The protester was the apparent low responsive bidder on the procurement but was found nonresponsible by the contracting officer, based on the protester's failure to satisfy solicitation requirements concerning the Indian Preference Program. The protester challenged this nonresponsibility determination, claiming that it had fully complied with the program provisions of the solicitation. The agency reported that the protester was a small business firm and that it had referred the contracting officer's determination to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for final consideration. Whenever an agency determines that a small business is nonresponsible, the law requires that the matter be referred to SBA, which then conclusively determines the bidder's responsibility by issuing or declining a Certificate of Competency. GAO will become involved in the review process only after SBA has made its determination and, even then, will entertain only protests which allege either fraud or bad faith, which the protester had not alleged. Accordingly, the protest was not for consideration and was dismissed.