GAO dismisses bid protests filed over $50B IT services procurement

The adjudicating agency dismisses 117 complaints over CIO-SP4 after NITAAC agrees to take corrective action.
(NIH photo)

The Government Accountability Office has dismissed 117 bid protests filed over the $50 billion CIO-SP4 IT services procurement, after the awarding agency agreed to take corrective action.

The National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center is set to reassess a points-based scoring system used to assess prior performance that attracted widespread criticism from contractors.

As part of the corrective action NITAAC will also re-adjudicate which offerors progress to the second phase of the procurement.

In its bid protest decision, GAO said: “We conclude that the agency’s proposed corrective action of reassessing the cutoff point for proposals to advance to phase 2 of the competition and making a new decision regarding the proposals that will advance to phase 2 grants the requested relief and renders the protest academic.”


The corrective action comes after offerors from across the federal contracting market raised concerns about the second phase award protest. In total, 117 contractors submitted complaints with GAO over the latest stage of the procurement.

NITAAC is pushing ahead with the troubled IT services procurement, despite multiple complaints over the award process, including earlier this year from Precise Consulting.

That protest at the time focused on requirements that NITAAC set out in a statement to certain offerors, which stated that all prior experience examples submitted should be from the last three years prior to May 25, 2021.

This came after GAO previously sustained in part a pre-award protest, which argued the procurement unfairly disadvantaged large companies in mentor-protégé arrangements.

The 10-year, $50 billion Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) contract is the fourth iteration of one of the agencies’ primary vehicles for acquiring commoditized IT products and services to meet biomedical research and health care needs.


NITAAC is housed within the National Institutes of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. It is authorized by the Office of Management and Budget to administer three major governmentwide acquisition contracts for IT acquisitions.

NITAAC and HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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