Protest of Sole-Source Award

B-195966: Jul 22, 1980

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A company protested a sole-source contract award for the lease of a telephone system by the Veterans Administration (VA). The protester stated that it was qualified to provide the system for the out-patient clinic and had informed the VA of its availability to compete through constant and continued contact with VA officials. The VA contended that it did not have the time to conduct a competitive procurement. The determination for the sole-source award was based on the fact that the General Services Administration could not provide the services and the conclusion that there was insufficient time to permit a competitive procurement which normally takes more than 2 years. The urgency appears to have resulted from the agency's lack of responsiveness to a requirement known for at least a year and its inability to proceed expeditiously. Therefore, GAO believed the sole-source award was improper in that it did not comply with Federal Procurement Regulation which requires that negotiated procurements be made on a competitive basis to the maximum extent practical and that the agency assure that a competitive procurement is not feasible before conducting a noncompetitive procurement. GAO recommended to assess the feasibility of conducting a new procurement which would be competitive in substance as well as in form. If this assessment proved to indicate a competitive procurement was feasible, then a resolicitation of the requirements is recommended on that basis. If an offeror other than the awardee submits a better offer, the current contract should be terminated. The protest was sustained.

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