A Best Practice For An Avoidable Proposal Mistake

The General Accounting Office (GAO) in late November issued a decision (Matter of Constructure-Trison JV) affirming the exclusion from competition of a joint venture (JV) competing for a broad-based Navy IDIQ contract (small business set-aside) because the JV offeror failed to include in its proposal a signed copy of agreements with the team members which it had identified as partners or important players in the expected contract performance.  The offeror had submitted a copy of its JV agreement, but the RFP also required copies of agreements or letters of commitment for its team members and subcontractors who were expected to perform.

This was highly unfortunate for the offeror which was excluded from the ensuing opportunity to compete for up to $240 million in Navy contract awards.  It was also completely avoidable as the RFP requirement for submitting such agreements was clear and the preparation of such agreements or letters of commitment would not have been difficult.  In other words, the JV offeror here has lost the opportunity to compete for and obtain millions of dollars in potential contract awards for failing to comply with what is a relatively manageable and straightforward requirement.

A best practice in proposal preparation is a compliance matrix. A compliance matrix captures every requirement identified in the RFQ/RFP, the page the requirement appears on, and the specifics of the requirement. Government contractors can use the matrix to build the proposal and as a final check before hitting send to confirm all boxes have been checked. That way, the situation described above can be avoided.

Tomi White Bryan