The Nationwide Institutes of Well being’s IT acquisition staff plans to take one more corrective motion to resolve the remaining open bid protests involving the CIO-SP4 contract automobile for IT options.
A prolonged assertion to WT from NIH’s Info Know-how Acquisition and Evaluation Middle features a laundry listing of all of the methods the Authorities Accountability Workplace helps that strategy.
Towards the tip of that assertion, NITAAC Deputy Director Ricky Clark stated the group would apply GAO’s suggestions for how one can transfer forward with the potential $50 billion automobile.
“NITAAC plans to take the corrective motion required to reevaluate all proposals, in line with the choice,” he stated within the assertion.
The company is also extending the present CIO-SP3 contract till April 29, 2024.
Clark’s assertion contains 12 areas the place NITAAC says GAO both dismissed protest allegations or discovered no benefit in them.
GAO solely dismissed two units of arguments, one being premature as a result of the protestors ought to have raised complaints in regards to the analysis standards when the solicitation was launched and never after they have been eradicated from the competitors.
The second level concerned a GAO ruling that corporations who did not cross the primary part couldn’t argue that NITAAC did not observe the award standards. GAO discovered NITAAC was clear within the solicitation that the one proposals eligible for award have been people who superior previous part one.
NITAAC’s assertion doesn’t handle the issues that GAO discovered with the CIO-SP4 procurement, notably with how the company managed its self-scoring course of that comprised part one.
Each selections go into nice element in regards to the errors GAO present in how NITAAC has run the procurement up to now.
In a nutshell, GAO discovered that “neither the file offered by the company nor the company’s responses to the protests present that the evaluations and exclusion selections have been cheap.”
GAO stated NITAAC made deceptive and incomplete explanations of its actions “as proven by the numerous revisions to the companies responses to some – however not all – of the protesters’ allegations.”
GAO additionally criticized NITAAC as a result of the company “didn’t meaningfully reply to the protesters’ arguments” involving how their self-scores have been evaluated.
Most of the protests round how NITAAC validated bidders’ self-scores boil down to those 10 arguments:
- The validation course of was not documented
- NITAAC used an unspoken standards and strategies
- NITAAC used unvalidated self-scoring factors to determine the cutline.
- NITAAC didn’t take into account all analysis elements when making the part one cuts
- The cutline created undisclosed necessary necessities
- NITAAC unreasonably adjusted cutlines to satisfy new socio-economic targets
- Small companies had an affordable expectation of a decrease cutline
- Small and huge companies have been handled unequally
- The cutlines have been an improper aggressive vary dedication
- The cutlines have been de facto non-responsibility determinations
GAO agreed with argument numbers one and three, which on their very own have been sufficient to maintain the protests.
In GAO’s eyes, NITAAC harm its argument when explaining the way it validated the self-scores throughout the protest. When supplemental protests have been filed, NITAAC defined that it used two completely different validation processes. NITAAC had an “preliminary” validation and a “arduous” validation.
NITAAC’s contracting officer provided one clarification to GAO for a way the scores have been used and evaluated, however the group’s statistician provided a special clarification.
The contracting officer then provided one other clarification, admitting that errors have been made and corporations could be notified that they’d handed part one.
GAO discovered that to be problematic and couldn’t “decide from the documentation offered, whether or not the company actually validated all the distributors’ scores in line with the solicitation necessities.”
Inconsistencies and an absence of readability in its explanations to GAO harm NITAAC repeatedly throughout the protest.
GAO lays out a number of suggestions for NITAAC to observe:
- “Onerous” validate all self-scores
- Make a brand new cutline evaluation
- Make a brand new dedication of which proposals superior by part one.
A fourth suggestion was particular to at least one protester, who requested for its rating to be re-evaluated as a result of NITAAC deducted 60 out of a doable 150 factors from one of many activity order examples the corporate submitted. GAO dominated that NITAAC didn’t moderately clarify the deduction.
In its assertion, NITAAC says that GAO “concurred [NITAAC’] s interpretation of the solicitation for the overwhelming majority of arguments.”
That’s technically true. However in studying the GAO resolution, it is clear that NITAAC has fallen properly in need of a properly-run procurement.
NITAAC cites a number of challenges it has confronted over the past two years with CIO-SP4 together with workers turnover, a rule change on the Small Enterprise Administration, rising pains and media consideration.
NITAAC has excessive hopes for the $50 billion automobile that it says can be a go-to sources for companies on the lookout for applied sciences equivalent to blockchain, cybersecurity, agile software program improvement, cloud-based IT resolution, new labor classes and activity areas.
“We’re optimistic in regards to the promise CIO-SP4 holds for our federal authorities clients and look ahead to serving to federal civilian and DO companies get IT executed,” Clark says on the finish of his assertion.