Convinced Agency to Relax Teaming Restriction

We used agency and GAO protests to convince the agency to relax the RFP’s restrictions against teaming so that our client would be more competitive.

The Defense Health Agency issued two solicitations for the Medical Q-Coded Support and Services—Next Generation (MQS2-NG) program, one restricted to small businesses and the other unrestricted and thus open to large businesses. The agency intended to award multiple Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contracts under both solicitations for five areas of responsibility covering different parts of the United States. It intended to create two vendor pools for each area, one containing large businesses and the other made up entirely of small businesses. Offerors earned points on a self-scoring worksheet and there an incentive to form teams to boost their score and chance of award. The solicitations, however, prohibited offerors from participating in more than one team and provided that an offer that included an awardee in one acquisition would be considered nonresponsive and ineligible for award in the other. This cross-teaming restriction discouraged large businesses that wanted to compete in the unrestricted acquisition from teaming with small businesses for award in the small business acquisition.

We filed an agency-level protest arguing that the cross-teaming restriction was unduly restrictive of competition because it inhibited the formation of the most advantageous teams and decreased the competitiveness of the vendor pools. We urged the agency to relax the cross-teaming restriction to allow an offeror in the unrestricted pool to be part of one (and only one) team organization in the small business pool. This less restrictive requirement would still accomplish the agency’s objectives while allowing offerors the flexibility to form more competitive teams. The agency denied our protest, so we protested the agency’s denial at the GAO. Before the date for the agency report, the agency agreed to take corrective action and grant the relief our client had requested.

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Stowell Holcomb
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Convinced Agency to Relax Teaming Restriction