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Protests resolved but other troubles remain for CIO-SP3 contract

Several protests involving the small business on-ramp for the National Institutes of Health's CIO-SP3 contract for IT products and services have been resolved but that doesn’t mean the fight is over.

The Government Accountability Office only sustained one protest by Chags Health Information Technology and denied protests by others: Biswas Information Technology Solutions, ESAC Inc., Trillion Technology Solutions, and Shivoy Inc.

Biswas has already filed a complaint to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. They were joined by another plaintiff in Precise Software Solutions Inc. That complaint is sealed and the GAO decision denying the protest has not been released yet.

But of all the protests raise complaints with how NIH evaluated proposals.

Over the last year, NIH has named new winners in several small business categoriesHUBzone, 8(a), service-disabled, veteran-owned and general small business. NIH received 550 proposals across all categories.

With its GAO victory, Chags gets another shot at the contract but it is no slam dunk. In Chag’s case, NIH apparently had trouble with a password Chags provided so the agency could access financial information.

Chags provided the password. NIH acknowledged that it had the password but when it came time to evaluate Chags proposal, the agency claimed it didn’t have the password for the financial information. Because it believed it didn’t have the password, it rejected Chags’ proposal as not being complete.

But even if the company hadn’t provided the password, the financial information only applied to whether Chags was a responsible contractor and should not have stopped NIH from revaluating the company’s technical proposal.

GAO ruled that NIH should do one simple thing: “We recommend that the agency use the password to decrypt the document and evaluate the protester’s proposal.”

So Chags gets another shot. Biswas is at the Court of Federal Claims and we’ll have to watch for what the other do and what can be gleaned from their protest decisions.

Meanwhile, the CIO-SP3 contract continues to chug along. Because this is an on-ramp, there is nothing that impends agencies from using the contract.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 25, 2019 at 12:14 PM


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