The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) sustained 98 protests filed by 64 offerors whose proposals were eliminated from the competition conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Six of those offerors were represented by two teams of Pillsbury Government Contracts & Disputes attorneys based in Los Angeles and Northern Virginia. Pillsbury represented Systems Plus, Inc.; A Square Group, LLC; DevTech Systems, Inc.; xFinion, Inc. and Sky Solutions, LLC, among others. The case is Systems Plus, Inc., et al., B-419956.184, et al.

The competition was initiated under request for proposals (RFP) No. 75N98121R00001, which was issued for the award of multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) governmentwide acquisition contracts for information technology services, known as Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP4).

The RFP sought proposals to provide information technology solutions and services in the areas of health, biomedical, scientific, administrative, operational, managerial, and information systems requirements. The solicitation advised that the agency will award approximately 305 to 510 IDIQ contracts across multiple socioeconomic groups. The solicitation provided for a three-phase evaluation, wherein a proposal must successfully pass each phase to be eligible for award. Each awarded contract will have a base period of performance of five years with one five-year option, and a maximum ordering value of $50 billion.

In the challenges filed at GAO, the protesters argued that the agency unreasonably failed to advance their proposals past phase one of the evaluation, thereby eliminating them from the competition. In sustaining the protests, GAO concluded that NIH’s decision not to advance the protesters’ proposals past phase one of the competition was flawed because the record provided by the agency and the agency’s responses to the protest do not show that the agency: (1) reasonably evaluated offerors’ phase 1 proposals, as required by the solicitation, and (2) reasonably determined which proposals would advance to the next stages of the competition.

GAO also concluded that the agency unreasonably evaluated specific aspects of one offeror’s phase 1 proposal, Pillsbury client Sky Solutions LLC. GAO recommended that the agency reevaluate proposals consistent with the decision, and make new determinations of which proposals advance past phase 1 of the competition based on the results of these new evaluations.

The Pillsbury team included Government Contracts & Disputes partners Richard Oliver, David Dixon, Matt Carter, and associates Robert Starling, Toghrul Shukurlu, Aleksey Dabbs and Dinesh Dharmadasa.

To read more about the decision, please see here.