Protest Alleging Inadequate Discussion and Proposal Misevaluation

B-205161: Feb 5, 1982

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A firm protested the proposed award of a cost-plus-award-fee contract under a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) for support services. The protester contended that the agency: (1) did not conduct adequate discussions with it; (2) misevaluated its proposal and the awardee's; and (3) did not consider the proposed awardee's commitment to another procuring agency. DOE received and evaluated eight proposals from technical, business and management, and cost standpoints as outlined in the RFP. Seven proposals were considered to be within the competitive range. The proposed awardee received the highest technical ratings. After considering the ratings of all offerors, the source selection official concluded that the proposed awardee should be selected for final negotiation leading to award. The agency notified the protester that the proposed awardee had been selected. The protester was briefed and informed as to the areas in which the agency concluded that the protester could improve its proposals in future procurements. The protester's contentions regarding the inadequate discussions were based on this briefing. GAO held that, where the procuring agency considered an initial proposal to be acceptable and in the competitive range, the agency was not obligated during discussions to point out every aspect of an offeror's proposal that received lower than the maximum score. The record revealed no basis to conclude that the procuring agency misevaluated the protester's proposal. The contention that the procuring agency failed to consider that a recent contract award to the proposed awardee, combined with its current workload, might adversely affect the proposed awardee's performance and cost in this procurement was without merit, because the source selection official knew of the award and considered its impact on the capability of the proposed awardee to perform as required and at the cost projected by the Government. Accordingly, the protest was denied.