A recent court decision on General Services Administration’s (GSA) $15-billion Polaris contract vehicle is expected to have far-reaching implications on scorecard-based proposal evaluation processes for government contracts.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that GSA must amend its Polaris IT-based solicitation and allow companies to resubmit their proposals, stopping the evaluation process and the awarding of contracts until the necessary changes are made. The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by VCH Partners and SH Synergy, which challenged the self-scoring portion of the solicitation and the awarding of points based on a company’s past experience. They also objected to GSA’s evaluation of pricing, arguing that task order level pricing should have been included.

As a result, the judge has directed GSA to modify its scoring methodology for joint venture past experience and include pricing in the evaluation for awards at the master contract level. The decision also impacts the mentor-protégé portion of the solicitation, with the judge ruling that GSA can limit a mentor to one joint venture but must be less restrictive in how it allows mentor-protégé teams to score their past experience. GSA will need to amend this portion of the solicitation as well.

Next Steps for Polaris

Following the court’s decision, the General Services Administration (GSA) must make amendments to the Polaris solicitation, addressing the issues raised by the court. This includes changing how they score joint venture past experience and including pricing in the evaluation for awards at the master contract level. Once these amendments are made, GSA will allow companies to resubmit their proposals.

It is unclear if GSA will cancel and reissue Polaris as a fresh RFP or simply make the required changes to the existing one. Regardless, bidders should stay alert for updates from GSA and be prepared to adjust their proposals accordingly.

Far-Reaching Implications for Government Contracting

The implications of this decision are far-reaching and expected to have a ripple effect on government contracting. Agencies will need to adjust their solicitations to comply with the court’s decision, which may affect the upcoming OASIS+ solicitation and ongoing proposal evaluations and contract awards for CIO-SP4 and the Veteran Administration’s T4NG2.

The wider implications of this decision are significant, as the self-scoring methodology is becoming more popular in government contracting. It is expected that agencies will need to adjust their solicitations to comply with the court’s ruling. For example, GSA will now include price evaluations in the solicitation for the OASIS+ professional services vehicle, and the National Institutes of Health’s IT Acquisition and Assessment Center is likely examining the ruling’s impact on the CIO-SP4 vehicle, which has also been mired in protests related to its self-scoring methodology.

Moving forward, it’s vital that companies and the procurement community as a whole stay informed on the latest developments and prepare for the implementation of the amendments. Compliance with the new amendments is critical, and we recommend that companies take a proactive approach to understanding and adapting to the changes.

If you’re looking for help understanding or preparing for these amendments, call OST Global Solutions. Our team of experts is ready to assist in navigating the Polaris small business contract and its related compliance requirements, as well as the upcoming changes to similar scorecard-based proposals.

OST Global Solutions is a professional business development consulting firm. We can provide capture and proposal teams to develop a complete, winning proposal. Or we can provide consultants on a case-by-case basis to fill gaps on your business development team. Our services related to Polaris and other Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) consist of capture management, cost volume development, price-to-win analysis, team identification/negotiation, proposal management, proposal writing, editing, graphics, and desktop publishing.

Contact us to discuss your bids, so we can help you develop a winning proposal.

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