Jump to content

Limitations of Proposal Revisions


Recommended Posts


I was trying to find case law about when it was either proper or improper for an agency to limit the scope of proposal revisions NOT having to do anything with a GAO imposed corrective action, in other words, am I understanding correctly that an agency is not allowed to limit the scope of proposal revisions unless the request for proposal revisions is being done because of a corrective action? I only found case law that talks about requests for proposal revisions because of a corrective action.

In other words, in typical requests for revised proposals (not having to do with corrective action) is the offeror free to change whatever they want (not just the weaknesses/deficiencies, i.e., things brought up in discussions)? If the offeror is crazy can they just literally re-write their entire proposal? Is the CO allowed to impose limitations of what the offeror can change in their revised proposal when a corrective action is not involved?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Sam101See FAR 15.307(b), then see Medical Receivable Solutions, GAO B-409358, March 19, 2014:


In general, when an agency opens or reopens discussions with offerors, the offerors may revise any aspect of their proposals, including portions of their proposals which were not the subject of discussions. Velos Inc., et al., B–400500 et al., Nov. 28, 2008, 2010 CPD ¶3 at 11. In appropriate circumstances, however, agencies may limit the revisions that offers may make to their proposals following discussions. DAE Corp., B–259866, B–259866.2, May 8, 1995, 95–2 CPD ¶12 at 4.

See also, DAE Corp., GAO B-259866, May 8, 1995:


In appropriate circumstances, a contracting agency may allow offerors to submit revised proposals without engaging in technical discussions or may limit the technical revisions that offerors can make after conducting discussions. See, e.g., System Planning Corp., B–244697.4, June 15, 1992, 92–1 CPD ¶ 516, and Metron Corp., B–227014, June 29, 1987, 87–1 CPD ¶ 642.

On the other hand, see Raytheon Co., GAO B-409998, July 25, 2011:


Specifically, the CO requested that the competitive range offerors submit final proposals, but limited revisions to the offerors' prices. Where an agency provides the opportunity to offerors to revise their price proposals, this constitutes discussions. See Price Waterhouse, B–254492.2, Feb. 16, 1994, 94–1 CPD ¶168 at 11; Dyncorp, B–245289, B–245289.2, Dec. 23, 1991, 91–2 CPD ¶575 at 11. As indicated above, whenever an agency conducts discussions, those discussions must be meaningful; that is, the discussions must identify deficiencies and significant weaknesses in each offeror's proposal. FAR §15.306(d)(3); Spherix, Inc., supra. Here, Raytheon was not provided with an opportunity to address the significant weaknesses identified in its proposal and the discussions were therefore not meaningful, even though one of the awardees was allowed to revise its technical proposal in a significant way. We sustain the protest on this basis.

None of those cases involved corrective actions. There are more than 60 such GAO cases.

See ABF Freight System, Inc. v. U.S., 55 Fed. Cl. 392, 401 - 403 (2003) in which the Court of Federal Claims analyzed the language in FAR 15.307(b) in response to a complaint that the agency improperly limited the scope of revisions. The court concluded:


GAO has squarely addressed the issue whether offerors, when submitting a final proposal pursuant to FAR § 15.307(b), may revise their proposals without limitation or are restricted to revising only those portions of the proposals that were the subject of agency discussions, holding that offerors responding to discussions may revise aspects of their proposals beyond the scope of the discussions absent an agency's decision, in appropriate circumstances, to limit the revisions offerors could make after the conduct of discussions. See Rel–Tek Sys. & Design, Inc., B–280,463.7, Jul. 1, 1999, 99–2 CPD ¶ 1, 1999 WL 485035.

There are numerous GAO cases that report that the agency limited revisions, but the limitations were not challenged. 

But see Feldman, 2 Government Contract Awards: Negotiation and Sealed Bidding, § 17.2, Requests for revisions:


When the agency solicits FPRs, the better reasoned cases hold that the offerors have knowledge as a matter of law that they may revise their offers in any way desired, including price revisions. Although the GAO has indicated in some decisions (mostly in the reprocurement after default context) that an exception exists to this rule when the agency issues contrary instructions in the request, these cases are questionable. In other decisions, the GAO has said that even when the agency requests that offerors not change their proposals, the offeror still has a right to make any technical or price revisions it desires. The GAO has said: “[T]he opportunity to revise all aspects of a proposal is generally viewed as a basic tenet of negotiated procurement.” Furthermore, FAR 15.306(d) and FAR 15.307(b) necessarily imply that the offerors may submit any technical or price revisions they desire that might result from the discussions; bargaining and the other elements of give and take characteristic of commercial procurements are strongly encouraged by the regulations. Indeed, offerors have this right even if the agency does not mention this possibility during discussions. Therefore, the better rule is that regardless of an agency directive or request, offerors have the unrestricted right to revise their proposals in their revisions.

Feldman is a highly opinionated but highly respected authority.

You asked a good question, but questions about when and how agencies may limit proposal revisions are complex and not for resolution by newcomers to Federal contracting.

In my opinion, as a general rule it is foolish for agencies to limit what offerors can change when submitting final proposal revisions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve Feldman was one of my attorney’s during my ten years in Huntsville. Opinionated, yes!  But could he be swayed, with reasoning?  Yes.

I was the chairperson of an evaluation board for a service contract source selection for scientific support on our Chemical Weapons Demilitarization program. A disappointed offeror protested.

The GAO called Feldman before we even responded to advise him that it looked likely that the protestor would prevail. Feldman called the KO and me in to advise us of that and that he agreed with GAO. I don’t remember the details any more. It was probably 18 years ago.

We told him that GAO was wrong. He was initially skeptical, since the GAO lawyer was pretty convincing. We discussed each point of the protest with him. The KO told him to do his job (that’s saying it nicely). We were both of the opinion that the protestor was “full of it” and that the allegations weren’t true (putting it nicely).

Feldman went to work on it, even working over a weekend on the Corp’s response. I spent the Saturday with him providing my input.  I think that the KO came in l, too.

He completed the response early the next week. Feldman prepared a great defense. And he agreed with us. It was a slamdunk - we prevailed on every single point with GAO.

He didn’t have to make anything up, either. The record was clear.  We had followed the SS plan, which was consistent with the solicitation. The KO worked closely with the Board and made a solid, well documented selection decision.

I was impressed with Steve Feldman’s ability to listen and change his mind. We worked well together after that protest. He was a great “go to” person for advice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...