Protest Against Subcontract Award

B-203555: Mar 17, 1982

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A firm protested the award of a subcontract for the operation of a job corps center under a solicitation issued by the prime contractor. GAO considers subcontractor protests only where the Government's active participation in the selection of a subcontractor directly effects the rejection or selection of a potential subcontractor. In this case, the Department of Labor helped to prepare the solicitation, evaluated the proposals, and advised the prime contractor of the deficiencies in the protester's proposal. The prime contractor rejected the protester's proposal on the basis of Labor's advice; thus, under these circumstances, the protest fell within the category of subcontractor protests over which GAO takes jurisdiction. Allegations against the solicitation specifications and the amount of information provided to offerors were untimely since they were not filed before the closing date for the receipt of initial proposals. The firm also protested that Labor misapplied the concept of responsiveness and failed to inform the prime contractor that the protester should have been given the opportunity to revise its proposal. Labor stated that the protester's proposal had so many deficiencies that it was not within the competitive range; therefore, there was no obligation to negotiate with the protester. In this case, offerors were given specific instructions which called for an extremely detailed proposal. These instructions were not merely guidelines as the protester contended. The protester failed to complete a description of proposed personnel. An entirely new proposal would have been needed to satisfy the requirement for a cost analysis summary and a narrative justification. The protester also failed to complete certain certifications which were essential to initial proposals. Although the individual omissions from the protester's proposal may have been susceptible to correction, the number of ommissions precluded an intelligent evaluation of the proposal. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.