Detica – b-400523 (Dec. 2, 2008)

Operational Resource Consultants, Inc. - B-299131.1; B-299131.2 (February 16, 2007)

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Operational Resource Consultants, Inc. - B-299131.1; B-299131.2 (February 16, 2007)

The situations in which OCIs arise, as addressed in FAR subpart 9.5 and the decisions of our Office, can be broadly categorized into three groups: biased ground rules, unequal access to non-public information, and impaired objectivity. Contracting officers must exercise “common sense, good judgment, and sound discretion” in assessing whether a potential conflict exists and in developing appropriate ways to resolve it; the primary responsibility for determining whether a conflict is likely to arise, and the resulting appropriate action, rests with the contracting agency. FAR sect. 9.505; Science Applications Int’l Corp., B-293601.5, Sept. 21, 2004, 2004 CPD para. 201 at 4. Once an agency has given meaningful consideration to potential conflicts of interest, our Office will not sustain a protest challenging a determination in this area unless the determination is unreasonable or unsupported by the record. Science Applications Int’l Corp., supra. As relevant to the protester’s allegations, a biased ground rules OCI arises where a firm, as part of its performance of a government contract, has in some sense set the ground rules for the competition for another government contract by, for example, writing the SOW or the specifications. In these cases, the primary concern is that the firm could skew the competition, whether intentionally or not, in favor of itself. FAR sections 9.505-1, 9.505-2. An unequal access to nonpublic information OCI arises where, as part of its performance of a government contract, a firm has access to information that may provide the firm an unfair competitive advantage in a later competition for a government contract. FAR sect. 9.505-4.  Further, even assuming that an Enspier employee was the drafter of this document, the protester does not identify any non-public information that might have been used in its creation, nor does the protester suggest how any such information could have given Enspier an unfair competitive advantage in the competition. In sum, the protester has not provided support for its assertion that the award to Enspier was tainted by an OCI.

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