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Possible ways to reduce bid protests (Article from Government Executive)


 Here's a link to the article:  http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/011111/011111mm.htm


Comments:  Well, I have to say that I have serious reservations about the author's third recommendation to essentially call the contractor after they have filed a protest and try to talk them out of it.  I certainly wouldn't try that unless I had both consulted legal counsel AND believed from my previous interchange with the contractor they might be receptive to that kind of discussion.  If not approached carefully, that technique could certainly inflame the situation.

On the other hand, it’s easy to endorse the second recommendation of not only following the debriefing rules (or in the case of Schedules where there is no formal debriefing but 8.405-2(d) applies, providing a “brief explanation of the award decision”) but providing as much information as possible to the unsuccessful contractors.  In my experience, the best technique is to explain in as much detail as possible why a given proposal (or quotation for Schedules) was not considered to be the best value.  Contractors have usually invested a significant amount in bid and proposal costs and in some cases, their job may be at stake.  Treat them like the professionals they are and give them the details on weaknesses the technical team found in their submittal.  Were certain sections vague?  Were elements of the submission requirements not addressed or poorly addressed?  Did they show some dazzling performance on previous projects not relevant to the scope of this particular statement of work?  Where could they improve on future submittals?  And of course, what were the strengths of their submittal? 

With that level of detailed information provided, the contractor may still walk away from the conversation unhappy but at least they should walk away feeling like their submittal was thoroughly and fairly considered.  In my experience, this radically reduces their likelihood of protesting unless they were planning to protest no matter what for the reasons described elsewhere in the article.

Anyone have other opinions/experiences to share?


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