June 2017 Bid Protest Review™: Evaluation Risks of Recently Recovered Past Performance

This article reviews the recently published protest decision Matter of: Engility Corporation; B-413120.3; B-413120.4; B-413120.5; B-413120.6.

The subject ID/IQ task order procurement issued by the Department of the Navy was for acquisition management, program management, and logistics support services. Past performance was the most important best value tradeoff factor, followed by technical approach, key personnel experience, and cost. While Engility was the incumbent, it notably did not include its current contract in the original past performance submission (ostensibly because of less than stellar and spotty contract performance). Nonetheless, Engility received a “Satisfactory Confidence” rating on this submittal, as compared to Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. (BAH)’s “Substantial Confidence.”

After a previous successful protest by BAH (on a highly interesting claim that the original Engility proposal was unawardable due to RFP noncompliance), the corrective action included discussions followed by a Final Proposal Revision (FPR). Likely due to a recent favorable CPAR, incumbent Engility did include its current contract in the FPR submittal. Engility received a “Limited Confidence” past performance rating, and BAH once again received “Substantial Confidence.” Winner: BAH ($40.6M). Engility ($38.9M) protest: denied.

My takeaways are:

  • One recovery CPAR does not erase all past contract performance issues. The Technical Evaluation Board (TEB) here concluded that Limited Confidence was warranted in part because of the wide variation and inconsistency in performance (marginal to exceptional) over multiple evaluation periods.

  • Inherent in all FPR submittals is the strategic dilemma of which “cans of worms” to open to try to improve the overall score. This is a good example of how a past performance citation swap-out can potentially back-fire and lower your confidence rating. Here it resulted in a two color score deficit in the most important evaluation criterion, which enabled the Navy to easily select a slightly higher cost “best value” winner.

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