GAO sustains protest of $242M file conversion contract award to GovCIO
The Government Accountability Office has sustained a bid protest brought by tech contracting giant GDIT over a $241.5 million file conversion contract awarded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
GDIT, which is the incumbent contractor for veterans’ personnel records and benefits claim records management and file conversation services, argued that the VA improperly awarded a task order to GovCIO, according to bid protest documents.
According to the documents, GDIT argued the agency should not have made the award because although GovCIO was charging a lower price, its proposal had a lower technical rating.
GAO sustained GDIT’s bid protests filed over the VA’s approach to evaluating GovCIO’s past performance and price. However, the audit agency denied GDIT’s arguments that the VA’s evaluation of GDIT’s proposal was flawed, and that the agency failed to adequately document the award process.
“We conclude that the VA’s evaluation of GovCIO’s proposal was unreasonable with regard to the past performance and technical factors. We also conclude that the agency’s award decision was unreasonable because it relied on the flawed evaluation of GovCIO’s proposal under the past performance and technical factors,” the GAO said in its decision.
“We further find that GDIT was prejudiced by these errors because the protester’s proposal was more highly rated than the GovCIO’s proposal under the more heavily-weighted non-price factors, and because the flawed evaluation supported the agency’s decision to award the task order to GovCIO based on its lower-priced, lower technically rated proposal,” the GAO added.
The GAO recommended that the VA reevaluate GovCIO’s proposal and make a new award decision that ensures a fair comparison of GDIT and GovCIO’s proposals based on the solicitation’s award criteria.
GAO also recommended that the VA reimburse the GDIT’s reasonable costs associated with filing and pursuing the protest including attorneys’ fees.
The VA originally issued the solicitation in September 2022, seeking proposals to provide file conversion services for the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) as part of its efforts to improve the veterans benefits and claim processes.
The VA received proposals from two offerors, GDIT and GovCIO, and the agency’s technical evaluation panel (TEP) for this procurement evaluated that GDIT’s proposal had a stronger technical factor, ranked as “good”, than GovCIO’s which was ranked as “satisfactory.” However, GovCIO was charging $241.5 million in their award proposal compared with GDIT’s $399.6 million.
The VA awarded the task order to GovCIO in November 2022, because the source selection authority (SSA) said there were “no significant advantages or disadvantages between the offers to justify the payment of the price difference associated with GDIT’s offer, given the level of technical competence available at GCIO’s lower price.”
GDIT and GovCIO declined to comment on the matter.