the CRB members subjected that we change the method of award based on a GAO decision. I have not seen a GAO decision allow government representative to change the method of award after receipt of proposals. Is this possible?
Unless the solicitation allowed for an alternative method of award, you must cancel and re-solicit or proceed forward with the current method of award. The GAO recent decisions do not allow source selection members to change the solicitation after proposal receipt without an amendment to the solicitation and then new proposals or cancelling and re-soliciting the solicitation. In fact, no one at GAO would advise that you change your method of award after receipt unless the solicitation gave you that flexibility, because no one at GAO would condone a violation of the FAR - in fact, GAO upholds many protests for failure to follow solicitation procedures.
Open full Question Details
Changing the method of award means amending the solicitation (and changing the method of award is changing one of the terms of the solicitation) -
"FAR 15.206 Amending the solicitation.
(a) When, either before or after receipt of proposals, the Government changes its requirements or terms and conditions, the contracting officer shall amend the solicitation.
…(c) Amendments issued after the established time and date for receipt of proposals shall be issued to all offerors that have not been eliminated from the competition.
…(e) If, in the judgment of the contracting officer, based on market research or otherwise, an amendment proposed for issuance after offers have been received is so substantial as to exceed what prospective offerors reasonably could have anticipated, so that additional sources likely would have submitted offers had the substance of the amendment been known to them, the contracting officer shall cancel the original solicitation and issue a new one, regardless of the stage of the acquisition."
Changing the method of award without amending the solicitation -
GAO would not support this as a protester could allege - "not consistent with solicitation", "solicitation impropriety", "award decision was improper", … Many times offices create protests by failing to follow the solicitation. If the GAO decision that the CRB references is substantial, a cancellation and re-solicitation of the requirements may be in order. Otherwise, award the current solicitation as stated in that solicitation and modify future solicitations. As you can read in the summary of GAO decisions, failure to follow solicitation criteria is common. In most cases, it is the failure to follow the solicitation's evaluation criteria which creates problems. However, failure to follow the solicitation terms and conditions (including method of award) is also protestable as this is in violation of the FAR.