NIH Contracts Office Says Protests Delaying Start of IT Work
- Existing contract, CIO-SP3, extended to Oct. 29
- New CIO-SP3 task orders could stretch well into fiscal 2029
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The $20 billion-per-contract governmentwide IT services vehicle known as Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 3 will be extended through Oct. 29, the National Institutes of Health said Monday.
And the follow-on CIO-SP4 contract that was initially awarded March 31 likely will be delayed several more weeks as the agency works to resolve scores of protests issued against the new vehicle in the days leading up to and following the award, the National Institutes of Health IT procurement office confirmed in an email to Bloomberg Government.
Earlier: ‘Preliminary’ List for $50 Billion IT Contract Is 425 Companies
“This six-month extension ensures there is no gap in contractual coverage between CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP4,” according to NIH’s email. The time will give “agencies plenty of runway to place their acquisitions through the remainder of the fiscal year, and get all the benefits and value-adds of FAR 16 flexibilities,” referring to an agency’s ability under the Federal Acquisition Regulation to adjust amounts and timing of task orders, along with other performance and evaluation criteria, to maximize performance.
CIO-SP3 had been scheduled to expire April 29.
Dozens of companies—many likely bidders notified they weren’t selected—have filed protests with the Government Accountability Office in the days and weeks leading up to the award announcement and continuing through last week. A total of 119 protests referencing CIO-SP4’s solicitation number remain open as of Monday, according to GAO’s online protest docket. GAO has up to 100 days to issue protest decisions.
In an email last week, Ricky Clark, acting director of NIH’s Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center, said protests won’t change any of the fundamental award criteria for CIO-SP4. “The multi phased award criteria followed was in accordance with the CIO-SP4 solicitation,” Clark said.
The list of preliminary awards named approximately 425 winning bidders on the NIH-run 10-year, $50 billion IT services vehicle.
“The government received some GAO protests in response to the preliminary apparent successful offeror notice,” said Clark. “The award and therefore performance is on hold until resolution of the protests.”
NITAAC didn’t disclose when agencies could begin placing orders on the new contracts or whether it plans to add more companies to the preliminary awardees list.
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