Protest of Proposal Rejection

B-205934: Jun 30, 1982

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A firm protested the rejection of its proposal for a word processing system. The Army rejected the protester's proposal for its failure to meet a mandatory requirement that the system be able to preclude the same record's being updated by more than one operator at the same time. The protester argued that its proposal did meet this requirement and that, therefore, the Army should cancel the award and offer the contract to it as the low priced bidder. The Army concluded that the protester's proposal was inadequate because, under the protester's system, there could be no flagging or lockout as specified in the solicitation. In the opinion of the protester, its best and final offer clearly indicated that it would meet the specified requirements. It further argued that, if the Army had had any question about the responsiveness of its proposal, it should have either conducted further discussions or utilized a benchmark test. GAO review of technical proposal evaluation is limited to ascertaining whether the determination of the technical merit of a proposal is unreasonable, arbitrary, or a violation of procurement laws and regulations. GAO has held that it is the responsibility of each offerer to establish that what it offers will meet the government's needs. Here, GAO agreed with the Army that the protester failed to demonstrate that its system would meet the Army's needs. In light of this, GAO had no basis to question the Army's decision to reject the protester's proposal as technically unacceptable. GAO has held that, once an offerer has been given the opportunity to clarify its proposal and the proposal is still found technically unacceptable, the agency has no obligation to conduct further discussions. GAO has also held that the primary purpose of a benchmark test is to demonstrate that an offerer's equipment is capable of performing the desired functions, not to provide information missing from a proposal. Therefore, after determining that the protester's proposal was not acceptable, the Army was under no obligation to conduct a benchmark test on the protester's equipment. Accordingly, the protest was denied.