Does Subcontractor Past Performance need to be Evaluated for FSS Procurements?

June 21, 2017

by Shelley Hall

Not according to a recent GAO decision on Atlantic Systems Group, Inc., B-413901 (Jan. 9, 2017).

The agency issued a Request for Quote (RFQ) pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.405-2, Ordering Procedures for Services Requiring a Statement of Work.  The procurement was set-aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) concerns holding General Service Administration (GSA) Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) under Schedule 70, General Purpose Commercial Information Technology Equipment, Software, and Services, Special Identification Number 132 51, Information Technology Professional Services.  The requirement was for technical, engineering, management, operation, logistical, and administrative support for the Department of Education’s cybersecurity risk management program.

The solicitation provided for the issuance of an order on a best-value tradeoff basis, considering, in descending order of importance, the following factors:  technical approach, resource plan, management plan, corporate experience, past performance, and price.

According to the GAO, when an agency conducts a competition under the FSS provisions of FAR 8.4, they will review the record to ensure that the agency’s evaluation is reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation.  In reviewing a protest challenging an agency’s technical evaluation, GAO will not reevaluate the quotations, but examine the record to determine whether the agency’s evaluation conclusions were reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation and applicable procurement laws and regulations.

The solicitation requested corporate experience of the organization and past performance information for the offeror, but did not mention subcontractors.  FAR part 8 does not require that an agency to consider the past performance of its proposed subcontractors.  Accordingly, GAO did not find that the solicitation was “ambiguous, and it was reasonable for the agency to consider the experience and past performance of the offeror (i.e., the entity that submitted the offer) and not its subcontractors.”

The protest challenging agency’s evaluation of proposals under technical approach and past performance factors was denied where evaluation is reasonable and in accordance with the solicitation.  Protest that agency was required to consider proposed subcontractor’s past performance was denied where solicitation is conducted under Federal Acquisition Regulation part 8 and where the solicitation only requested past performance information for the “offerors.”

So this is pretty interesting.  If you are bidding on GSA/FSS competitive requirements, you need to understand that your subcontractor’s past performance does not need to be considered unless the RFQ specifically states that the agency will review it.

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