Organizational Conflicts of Interest

720px-US-GovernmentAccountabilityOffice-Logo.svgA recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) bid protest decision provides yet another example of the importance for contractors to identify potential organizational conflicts of interest (OCI) when submitting a proposal in response to a federal government solicitation.

In DV United, LLC, B-411620, B-411620.2, Sept. 16, 2015, GAO denied a bid protest challenging the award of a contract to NES Associates, LLC (NES) by the Department of the Interior (on behalf of the Department of the Army).  Among other arguments, DV United (DVU) alleged that NES had access to a DVU team member’s proprietary information through it performance of an unrelated Army contract, thus creating an unequal access to information type OCI.

As a refresher, FAR Part 9.5 governs the “responsibilities, general rules, and procedures for identifying, evaluating, and resolving organization conflicts of interest.”  Accordingly, contracting officers are obligated to avoid, neutralize, or mitigate potential significant OCIs to prevent situations in which a contractor’s objectivity may be impaired, or a contractor may gain an unfair competitive advantage.
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