The General Services Administration is moving closer to making awards for the Polaris small business contract vehicle. Polaris will have pools of winners around the different small business categories and agencies will use it to buy IT solutions and services across several performance areas such as cloud, cyber, data management, and information technologies.
GSA released the Polaris solicitation in early 2021 and immediately faced pre-award protests at the Government Accountability Office. Some bidders turned to the courts to have their complaints heard about GSA’s self-scoring methodology and how points were awarded for past experience. In May 2022, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ordered GSA to amend the solicitation and let bidders resubmit proposals.
On the eve of the new proposal deadline in November, Akima and Absolute Strategic Technologies filed protests with GAO complaining that GSA wasn’t allowing them to update their past performance and experience information. Akima also argued that GSA’s position favored mentor-protégé firms. On Feb. 5, GAO rejected those protests and sided with GSA, clearing the way for GSA to make what industry widely expects to be hundreds of awards for Polaris.
The Polaris contract will have no ceiling and will also allow for the purchase of software development, and IT operations and maintenance. While GAO’s decision opens the way for GSA to make awards, there is still a risk of protests against the final awards.