The GAO issued a decision today reiterating a familiar theme: Where a protester’s proposal failed to provide information specifically requested by the solicitation and necessary for evaluation purposes, the agency’s evaluation of the proposal as “poor” was reasonable.

The solicitation required the submission of a proposal with sections addressing the offeror’s past performance, technical approach, staffing, and management approach, and supplied instructions as to what proposals were to address in relation to each of the RFP’s evaluation factors. Because the agency’s evaluation was dependent upon information furnished in the proposal, it was the offeror’s obligation to submit an adequately written proposal for the agency to evaluate. The protester simply failed to do so. Therefore, the agency’s evaluation of the proposal, and determination to not award a contract under this solicitation to the protester, was consistent with the terms of the solicitation and was reasonably based. See Matter of Phyllis M. Chestang, B-298394.3, November 20, 2006.

All government contractors should be aware that federal agencies have a great deal of discretion in determining whether a proposal is responsive to the listed evaluation factors. Before submitting a proposal, contractors should try to put themselves in the position of the government’s source selection team. Does the proposal answer the questions that the government will have about an offeror’s experience, past performance, and technical qualifications? If your proposal doesn’t seem convincing and responsive to you, the chances are that the government will not think very much of it either. In the world of negotiated procurement and proposal preparation, it is vital to be thorough, responsive, and persuasive. A contractor needs to sell the company’s capabilities and approach throughout the process.