Friday, May 8, 2015

Adequate Time for Proposal Preparation After Receipt of Q&As.

A lot of readers of this blog prepare and submit proposals in response to various types of Government solicitations. All solicitations contain evaluation factors ranked in order of importance and all solicitations give prospective offerors the opportunity to ask clarifying questions and receive responses from the Government. The Q&As are often valuable in assisting prospective contractors to better understand some of the nuances of the Government's requirements and to prepare their best offer possible.

What would you think then if three days before the solicitation's closing date, the Government provided you (and all offerors) the answers to 359 offeror questions? Would you have time to read, digest, and consider them in your proposal submission? Would there be adequate time to prepare your proposal?

That was the subject of a recently issued bid protest decision. The protestor argued that the Government was required to extend the closing date for the receipt of proposals in order to afford offerors adequate time to prepare their proposals, but failed to do so. The protestor argued that the type and quantity of questions that were answered required additional proposal preparation time.

The Comptroller General (CG) noted that the protestor did not identify the specific questions or answers that required additional proposal response time nor did it identify and changes to the solicitation's terms effected by the amendment. Neither did the CG find, on its own, that the sheer number of questions and answers alone to be persuasive proof of a need for more than three days of proposal preparation time, especially where, as here, the answers

  • did not revise solicitation terms and
  • several questions were repetitious (e.g. number of contracts to be awarded, the procurement timeline, the calculation of inventory, and contracting with small businesses).

The protest was denied.

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