An Evaluation of Air Force Procurement Procedures in Contracting for Advertising Services

Gao ID: PLRD-83-25 March 31, 1983

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed an Air Force contract award for advertising services to assess whether Air Force procurement practices ensured free and open competition.

GAO found no improper actions in the contracting process for this award and, therefore, had no reason to dispute the award. The solicitation described the factors that would be considered in proposal evaluation and the procedures that would be used to select a contractor. Since an offerer's technical and professional capabilities were important, the contracting officer properly used a panel of technical personnel to evaluate the proposals and awarded the contract to the offerer with the highest overall rating. Although GAO noted no improprieties in this contract award, it identified a number of improvements which the Air Force can make in its contracting process which would better ensure free and open competition in future agency selections. GAO suggested that: (1) increased background information should be provided to all prospective offerers; (2) discussions should be held with offerers which submit good initial proposals and they should be allowed the opportunity to improve them; (3) an early appointment of the technical evaluation panel could be beneficial to provide them with adequate time to develop evaluation criteria; (4) contracting officers should question wide divergencies in scoring; and (5) the contracting officer should receive sufficiently detailed information on the strengths and weaknesses of various proposals to allow him to make an independent selection decision.

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