Boston Consulting Group claimed it did not need to provide that information on certain items in its bid for the government-wide professional services vehicle.
The sole protest – so far – against the OASIS+ contract has been resolved in the General Services Administration's favor.
Boston Consulting Group objected to how GSA is asking bidders for information on the cost breakdown of fixed prices in that bidders submit with their proposals for the government-wide professional services vehicle.
The Government Accountability Office denied BCG's protest on Thursday and details are under a protective order, so there isn’t much to share quite yet. GAO, GSA and BCG are working right now on what a public version of the protest will look like.
BCG argued that GSA didn’t need to know about direct labor rates, fringe benefits, general and administrative rates and the profit margins that roll up into the fixed price. The company claimed that request by GSA was inconsistent with procurement regulations and the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act.
The company also argued GSA was asking for too much because these are commercial items and there are other ways to determine if the prices are reasonable.
GAO apparently disagreed. When denying protests, GAO typically says that agencies have broad discretion on how they evaluate proposals and what they ask for. The key is that agencies have to be transparent and document the decisions.
We’ll have to until the decision is released, but BCG raised a fair question in this protest. I’ve heard similar arguments for years about agencies asking for information regarding profit margins. If agencies are getting a good price, does it matter what a contractor’s profits are?
For all the government talk about wanting to operate like a commercial market, GSA's position on OASIS+ appears backwards.
But as I said, we will have to wait for the GAO decision to see exactly where BCG’s argument fell short and where GSA prevailed.
GSA did put price back into the evaluation criteria for OASIS+ after a federal judge's ruling in May against how the agency was handling the Polaris small business IT solutions vehicle. The agency originally planned to not have price be in the evaluation criteria for both OASIS+ and Polaris.
Proposals for OASIS+ were due Oct. 20. Awards are likely to be announced in August.
OASIS+ is the follow-on to the current OASIS contract vehicle that agencies use to buy a wide range of professional services.
The new contract will have no ceiling and be much larger than the current iteration as it consolidates requirements from two other multiple-award contract vehicles: Human Capital and Training Solutions, and Building Maintenance and Operations.