Protest forces Termination of Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Budget Formulation Implementation Services Contract

“DIGEST –

  1. Protest is sustained where the awardee’s quotation took exception to the solicitation’s material requirements.
  2. Protest is sustained where the award decision failed to meaningfully consider the strengths and weaknesses of each quotation and instead relied on the point scores assigned, and therefore did not reasonably explain why the agency selected a lower-priced, lower technically rated quotation for award.”

“BACKGROUND – The Bureau’s Administrative Resource Center (ARC) is a “shared service provider of financial management services to federal agencies.”  Agency Report (AR), Exh. 1, Performance Work Statement (PWS), at 8. One of ARC’s customers is HUD, which is seeking an “expansion of its utilization” of the OneStream XF software solution for its budget formulation requirements.  Contracting Officer’s Statement (COS) at 1; PWS at 8.

The Bureau issued the solicitation on July 26, 2019, seeking quotations to “implement a functional solution to enable HUD to complete business processes in OneStream XF and support the department’s [Office of Management and Budget (OMB)] budget submission for the [fiscal year] 2022 budget due September 7, 2020, as well as to be able to generate the HUD Congressional Budget Justification documents.”  PWS at 8.  The solicitation was limited to firms that hold BPAs established with the Bureau under FSS provisions of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) subpart 8.4.  Memorandum of Law (MOL) at 2.  The solicitation anticipated the issuance of a fixed-price BPA task order with a 13-month period of performance.  AR, Exh. 1, Solicitation, at 1; PWS at 8.

The solicitation stated that quotations would be evaluated on the basis of price, and the following three non-price factors, which were listed in descending order of importance:  (1) demonstrated knowledge and experience/past performance; (2) expertise of proposed consulting team; and (3) method and approach.  Solicitation at 3.  For purposes of award, the non-price factors were “more important” than price.  Id. at 4.

The Bureau received quotations from two firms, Deloitte and Grant Thornton, by the closing date of August 19…”

“DISCUSSION – Deloitte raises three primary challenges to the Bureau’s award to Grant Thornton:  (1) the awardee’s quotation takes exception to material solicitation requirements, and should have been rejected as unacceptable; (2) the agency unreasonably and unequally evaluated the vendors’ quotations under the technical evaluation factors, and (3) the award decision did not address the evaluated differences between the quotations and failed to explain why the protester’s higher-rated quotation was not worth a price premium. For the reasons discussed below, we agree with the first and third arguments and therefore sustain the protest.

Where, as here, an agency issues a solicitation to FSS vendors under the provisions of FAR subpart 8.4 and conducts a competition for the issuance of an order, our Office will not reevaluate the quotations; rather, we review the record to ensure that the agency’s evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation and applicable procurement laws and regulations.  Digital Solutions, Inc., B-402067, Jan. 12, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 26 at 3-4.  Competitions under the FSS must be conducted on an equal basis; that is, the contracting agency must even-handedly evaluate quotations against common requirements and evaluation criteria.  Kingfisher Sys., Inc.; Blue Glacier Mgmt. Grp., Inc., B‑417149 et al., April 1, 2019, 2019 CPD ¶ 118 at 8.

A protester’s disagreement with the agency’s judgment, without more, does not establish that an evaluation was unreasonable.  DEI Consulting, B-401258, July 13, 2009, 2009 CPD ¶ 151 at 2.  Competitive prejudice is an essential element of a viable protest, and we will sustain a protest only where the protester demonstrates that, but for the agency’s improper actions, it would have had a substantial chance of receiving the award. DRS ICAS, LLC, B‑401852.4, B-401852.5, Sept. 8, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 261 at 21-22. …”

“DECISION – Deloitte Consulting LLP, of Arlington, Virginia, protests the issuance of a task order to Grant Thornton LLP, of Alexandria, Virginia, by the Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, under blanket purchase agreement (BPA) call request (solicitation) No. ARC-511003-19-0001, which was issued for support of federal budget formulation requirements for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Deloitte argues that the award to Grant Thornton was improper because the awardee’s quotation took exception to material solicitation requirements, the Bureau unreasonably and unequally evaluated the vendors’ quotations under the technical evaluation factors, and the award decision failed to address the evaluated differences between the quotations and explain why the protester’s higher-rated quotation was not worth a price premium.

We sustain the protest.”

Read the full 17-page decision here.

G2X TAKE: This implementation services contract, awarded to global consulting and advisory services firm Deloitte to support the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service with HUD OneStream Budget Formulation, was recently terminated for convenience due to the protest. More will be shared as it is made available.

The initial task was awarded using the Fiscal Accounting and Shared Services (FASS) Support Services BPA.

 

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