Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I came across this statement in MANCON, B-405663, Feb. 9, 2012, posted on the Wifcon home page today:

In addition, while an agency may provide for the technical evaluation of responsibility-type factors, such as a small business subcontracting plan, it may only do so when it is making a comparative assessment of those plans. See Computer Sciences Corp.; Unisys Corp.; Northrop Grumman Info. Tech., Inc.; IBM Business Consulting Services-Federal, B-298494.2 et al., May 10, 2007, 2007 CPD ¶ 103 at 10. A comparative evaluation means that competing proposals will be rated on a scale relative to each other rather than on a pass/fail basis. Zolon Tech, Inc., B-299904.2, Sept. 18, 2007, 2007 CPD ¶ 183 at 8. Here, the plans were evaluated on a pass/fail basis, and therefore, the agency’s evaluation of those plans concern an offeror’s responsibility.

I have long taught that it is unwise to evaluate traditional responsibility-type factors on a pass/fail basis, because a "fail" is the equivalent to a nonresponsibility determination, which would give a small business concern the right to apply for a COC. However, the GAO seems to be going one step further by saying that an agency may only use responsibility-type factors as part of its technical evaluation when making a comparative assessment--an agency may not evaluate such factors on a pass/fail basis. The FAR clearly contemplates such a practice at FAR 15.101-2( b )(1) where, regarding the evaluation of past performance, it states:

If the contracting officer elects to consider past performance as an evaluation factor, it shall be evaluated in accordance with 15.305. However, the comparative assessment in 15.305(a)(2)(i) does not apply.

I looked up the case that was cited in support of the statement, and as is typical of many GAO decisions, it does not stand for the proposition stated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15.101-2( b )(1), which says the comparative assessment in 15.305(a)(2)(i) does not apply, is under 15.101-2, LPTA, which implies a pass/fail on technical merit, and logically would not involve a comparative assessment. In a best value rather than LPTA environment, a comparative assessment would make sense. I don't know which was the case with MANCON, although I did read it with great interest this morning.

Edited to add: I just clicked on the link in the summary to get to the whole decision, and it was best value, so it makes sense that this factor should have been comparative rather than pass/fail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Vern Edwards

I don't think the GAO has changed its position. I think you're just seeing careless writing. When read in context I don't think the language reflects a new rule.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I came across this statement in MANCON, B-405663, Feb. 9, 2012, posted on the Wifcon home page today:

I have long taught that it is unwise to evaluate traditional responsibility-type factors on a pass/fail basis, because a "fail" is the equivalent to a nonresponsibility determination, which would give a small business concern the right to apply for a COC. However, the GAO seems to be going one step further by saying that an agency may only use responsibility-type factors as part of its technical evaluation when making a comparative assessment--an agency may not evaluate such factors on a pass/fail basis. The FAR clearly contemplates such a practice at FAR 15.101-2( b )(1) where, regarding the evaluation of past performance, it states:

I looked up the case that was cited in support of the statement, and as is typical of many GAO decisions, it does not stand for the proposition stated.

I don't think it is a change in policy. See Capital CREAG LLC, B-294958.4 (January 31, 2005).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think will have to keep in mind that GAO is comprised of like-minder professionals that are ubiquitous in any Government organization. GAO can miss-speak and even at times openly disagree with one another. While there is a mechanism in place to show a united posture towards any situation GAO’s historical documents are evidence of changing and conflicting positions. Again, GAO’s writers are human, and we must read their decisions with a critical eye, as we read anything….

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...