When it comes to “best value” evaluations, agencies ordinarily have broad discretion to accept higher-rated, higher-priced proposals.
How broad is that discretion? Well, in one recent case, the GAO held that an agency reasonably accepted the awardee’s higher-rated proposal, despite a whopping 91% price premium.
The GAO’s decision in Deloitte Consulting LLP, B-419336.2 et al. (2021) involved a DHS Request for Quotations seeking the establishment of a Blanket Purchase Agreement under which the awardee would provide program analysis and strategic support services. The RFQ was issued to holders of the GSA’s Professional Services Schedule with particular Special Line Item Numbers, as well as certain other GSA Schedule holders, and contemplated the award of a single BPA against which orders would be issued.
The RFQ provided for award on a best-value basis, using a two-phase process. Only phase 2 was at issue in the GAO’s decision. In phase 2, the evaluation was to be based on five factors, listed in descending order of importance: management approach, technical approach, prior experience, socio-economic considerations, and price. Because the ultimate scope of work under the BPA was indefinite, price was to be evaluated based on a sample task.
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