Can the government cancel the current requirement without significant changes and solicit for again
“Can” the government do what you ask; the answer is yes. Is this wise or smart? Based on the background you provided; I’m going to say this would be a very BAD decision!! Repeat, a bad decision!
Before explaining why, a note of great caution, remember that FAR 33.101 says the government’s cancellation of a solicitation is something that can be protested. So, let’s explain where the danger lies.
FAR 15.305(b) says “The source selection authority may reject all proposals received in response to a solicitation, if doing so is in the best interest of the Government.” But, unfortunately the FAR does not give a definition of what “the best interest of the government” is. However, FAR 15.206(e) states the following:
“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.”
That is the litmus test GAO and COFC will often use (along with precedence from previous board or court decisions – more on this to follow) when deciding if the government’s actions in cancelling a solicitation were “reasonable”.
You should research some GAO and COFC decisions on this scenario. In the meantime I will save you some suspense. They have most often found that cancelling and then resoliciting “without significant changes…” as you suggest, is “arbitrary” and “pretext” and therefore unreasonable and discriminatory against those who submitted a proposal.
You could give it a try in the hopes no one files a protest… but I would consider this a potential integrity issue and certainly a violation of FAR Guiding Principles (i.e. “maintaining the public’s trust”). It would also violate the tenet of FAR 1.602-2(b).
While you are reading 1.602-2(b), please read 1.602-2(c). Hopefully this will remind you to go seek the advice of your Contracts Attorney. They will probably respond with something like “no, because the board/court would say if the government could cancel and resolicit every time they didn’t like who proposed, then our requests for proposals would be nothing more than illusory”.
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