[Protest of Navy Exclusion of Proposal From the Competitive Range]

B-216441: May 10, 1985

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A firm protested the Navy's exclusion of its bid from the competitive range under a request for proposals (RFP), contending that the Navy's technical evaluation of its proposal was unreasonable and that the Navy failed to adhere to the evaluation scheme set forth in the RFP. The protester argued that the Navy's action was arbitrary and in bad faith and contended that it was entitled to recover its proposal preparation expenses. The Navy indicated that, although its emphasis among the evaluation factors was in accordance with the RFP evaluation plan, the subfactors under the technical approach were not in the proper sequence; however, the Navy argued that this deviation was inadvertent, not prejudicial, and not so material as to require an RFP amendment. GAO does not question agency proposal evaluations unless the agency's action is shown to be arbitrary, in violation of procurement regulations, or lacking a reasonable basis. GAO found that the protester's allegations concerning the adequacy and clarity of the RFP were without merit. GAO also found that: (1) the protester failed to establish that the Navy's technical conclusions were unreasonable; (2) the technical evaluation was consistent with the evaluation factors set forth in the RFP; and (3) the scoring accurately reflected the RFP stated evaluation scheme. Furthermore, GAO found no evidence of bias or bad faith on the part of the evaluation panel and that the delayed failure to give the offerer notice that its proposal was excluded from the competitive range was a procedural irregularity which did not affect the legality of the agency's actions or prejudice the protester. Accordingly, the protest and the claim for proposal preparation costs were denied.