The Defense Information Systems Agency published the new version of its $17.5 billion Encore III IT services contract Wednesday after federal auditors recommended changes to the solicitation last month.
The Government Accountability Office upheld Booz Allen Hamilton and CACI’s protests of the initial version of the solicitation, prompting the need for revisions. In particular, the companies complained about the method for calculating vendors’ costs and the decision to conduct an initial assessment to eliminate proposals that were significantly more and less expensive than a “trimmed average” of the proposals.
DISA told the GAO the initial assessment would “evaluate whether any price proposals are so low that they present unacceptable risk,” but the auditors called the plan “flawed.”
The agency eliminated the practice in the new solicitation, but it will still choose awards based on a lowest priced technically acceptable method, something the companies had also protested. The auditors wrote in their decision that they did not support the argument against the method.
In the new solicitation, the agency says it will choose the “lowest evaluated priced proposals,” which also factors in another change rooted in a complaint that the original solicitation didn’t allow for government to properly assess costs. In particular, the solicitation didn’t have a method for accounting for what the government would pay the bidder on a cost-plus basis.
The auditors noted “the RFP does not provide a meaningful basis to consider offerers’ proposed costs to the government.” In the decision, the GAO recommended this be factored in to the request for proposals, and the new solicitation reflects the recommendation by requiring bidders to include rates for fixed-price labor and cost-reimbursement labor.
DISA says it will award up to 20 of the lowest-priced proposals in each of two categories: the full and open suite, and the small business suite.
Questions on the solicitation are due Sept. 13, and proposals are due Sept. 30.