Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Proposal that Takes Exception to Solicitation Terms and Conditions is Unacceptable

A proposal that takes exception to a solicitation's material terms and conditions should be considered unacceptable and may not form the basis for an award. This is a fundamental contracting principle that the Comptroller General (GAO) has affirmed in many decisions. Material terms of a solicitation are those which affect the price, quantity, quality, or delivery of the goods or services being provided.

In a decision published yesterday, the Comptroller General (CG) affirmed it once again.

Last October, the Navy issued a solicitation to acquire support services for the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Ultimately, a contract was awarded to URS Federal Services. One of the other bidders appealed the award when it found that URS's proposal took exception to the solicitation's requirements.

In response to a direct question regarding whether any on-site working space would be provided by the Government, the Navy unambiguously stated: "No on-site space will be provided. Further, there was nothing in the solicitation to the contrary - no mention of any equipment to be provided by the Government.

URS's proposal however was based on the Government providing facilities and equipment. Specifically, URS's proposal was submitted based on the assumption that:
... the Government/Client will provide working space, computers, and telephone for the proposed staff at no cost to URS".
The CG sustained the protest and ordered the Navy to either revise its solicitation to reflect its actual requirements or terminate URS's contract and award to the offeror whose proposal complies with the terms of the solicitation and offers the best value to the Government.

I guess it pays to read the competitors' proposals.

You can read the full text of the decision by clicking here.

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