Yet another CIO-SP4 fix is in the works Lim / 500px

The self-scoring aspect of the competition for the $50 billion IT contract remains a sticking point for small business bidders.

The National Institutes of Health's IT acquisition organization apparently is working through another set of corrective actions involving protests of the small business portion of the CIO-SP4 IT solutions contract.

The Government Accountability Office is looking at the fix proposed by NIH's Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center.

One point of clarification for GAO to review is how this corrective action is different from the one NITAAC took in November, when nearly 100 companies had filed protests.

Dozens of companies are objecting to the threshold NITAAC is using to winnow down the number bidders that can move forward and compete for positions on the $50 billion vehicle. That group of companies is saying the threshold NITAAC has set is arbitrary.

NITAAC said it would take a second look at the threshold and make new decisions on who would advance to the competition's second and third phases.

After the November corrective action, NITAAC started eliminating companies from the competition in February and again said they meet the threshold set for the self-scoring portion of the competition.

For the protesters it was like déjà vu again because they received the same notification as when they were eliminated in the fall. More than one source has said that of the 10,000 points possible for the self-scoring, companies with scores of 9,000 and higher are getting axed from the competition.

With this new corrective action, NITAAC says it will look at the methodology it used to establish the threshold.

NITAAC's use of the word "methodology" is a subtle difference from the first corrective action, when the organization said it would reassess the threshold.

I’m not sure how you “reassess” without looking at the methodology.

GAO has to approve the corrective action and verify that the action addresses the allegations in the protests. The bid protest and government oversight agency apparently is trying to understand the difference between the first corrective action and the one NITAAC is proposing.

If GAO is satisfied, it will need some time time to work through the 18 active protests. For now, those protests are still listed as active on the GAO docket with a decision due May 22.