Decision to Award Only One IDIQ Contract Violated FAR 16.504

A $1.2 billion contract award for travel management services violated FAR 16.504 (c)’s prohibition against awarding an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract over $103 million to a single source, according to the Court of Federal Claims, because the government’s best value analysis was inappropriate for establishing the awardee was the only qualified and capable source. The protester maintained the decision to award only one contract violated FAR 16.504 (c), which establishes a general discretionary “preference” for multiple IDIQ awards. The government responded the protester’s final proposal revisions did not meet the solicitation’s requirements and were technically unacceptable, and the exception at FAR 16.504 (c)(1)(ii)(D)(1)(iii) applied because the awardee was the only qualified and capable source.

D&F Insufficient

In a case of apparent first impression, the court found the government’s determination and findings never discussed whether the protester was qualified and capable of performing the work. Rather, the D&F concluded the awardee was the only qualified and capable source because the protester received an overall rating of “marginal.” The D&F compared the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two proposals under the evaluation criteria, total prices, as well as the perceived general risks and benefits of a single versus dual award. Thus, the government selected the awardee on a best value basis, which was inconsistent with the requirements of FAR 16.504 (c)(1)(ii)(D). Further, the “marginal” rating constituted a finding the protester did not meet “[g]overnment requirements necessary for acceptable contract performance, but issues are correctable,” which was different from the findings for a rating of “unacceptable.”

Unequal Treament

The court also held the award decision was the result of unequal treatment because the government required the protester, but not the awardee, to demonstrate compliance with solicitation requirements prior to award. “While both [the protester] and [the awardee] responded to some of the concerns the government had with their proposals with plans to correct the weaknesses after award, [the government] treated [the protester] and [the awardee] unequally by rejecting [the protester’s] postaward compliance date but accepting [the awardee’s] promises.” The court concluded the protester was entitled to injunctive relief and ordered the government to conduct a reevaluation consistent with FAR 16.504 (c). ( CW Government Travel, Inc. v. U.S., et al., FedCl, 57 CCF ¶80,054)