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FAR 15.607:  Unsolicited proposals

Comptroller General - Key Excerpts

Rante submitted an unsolicited proposal to the agency to “provide the IRS with the appropriate tools to address IRS technology limitations” with regard to foreign account and asset reporting. AR, Tab 4, Rante’s Proposal, at 47-48. The IRS received Rante’s unsolicited proposal on February 4, 2015, and directed the proposal to the IRS’s Foreign Account and Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) program management office (PMO) and its International Data Management group for review. Contracting Officer (CO) Statement at 1. The evaluators determined that the proposal duplicated the functionality of an existing IRS Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), which had been established in August 2014. CO Statement at 2; AR, Tab 7, Email from Information Technology (IT) PMO (Feb. 11, 2015), at 1. Thus, the agency concluded that the unsolicited proposal did not provide an innovative or unique solution. Id.

On March 3, the IRS sent Rante a letter notifying the firm that its proposal was neither innovative nor unique; that the agency did not believe Rante’s proposal justified award on a sole-source basis; and that the IRS had already deployed a managed service application that provided FATCA partners with a mechanism to secure automatic exchange of information. AR, Tab 5, Letter to Rante, at 1. Rante filed its protest with our Office on March 4.

With regard to unsolicited proposals, the decision to make a non-competitive award is one that is within the agency’s discretion, and then only where the requirements of FAR § 15.607(b) are met. S.T. Research Corp., B-231752, Aug. 16, 1988, 88-2 CPD ¶ 152 at 1-2; Mine Safety Appliances Co., B-227839, July 8, 1987, 87-2 CPD ¶ 24. Rante’s protest acknowledges that it understands the discretion granted to agencies in this regard. Comments at 22. Nevertheless, Rante challenges various aspects of the agency’s underlying evaluation and disagrees with the agency’s determination that its unsolicited proposal was neither innovative nor unique.

We find no basis to review the agency’s determinations here. Given that one of the objectives of our bid protest function is to ensure full and open competition, we consider it inappropriate, generally, to review a protest which would mandate an agency to procure from a particular firm on a sole-source basis. See S.T. Research Corp., supra; University of Dayton Research Inst., B-220589, Jan. 30, 1986, 86-1 CPD ¶ 108; DWK Systems Group, Ltd., B‑229647, Dec. 10, 1987. Since Rante’s protest fails to provide our Office with a basis to deviate from this general rule, we decline to consider the protester’s allegations. 4 C.F.R. §§ 21.4(c)(4), (f) (protest must include a detailed statement of the legal and factual grounds for protest, and the grounds stated must be legally sufficient).

The protest is dismissed.  (Rante Corporation B-411188: Jun 1, 2015)  (pdf)

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Rante Corporation B-411188: Jun 1, 2015  (pdf)  
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