VITA works diligently to prepare solicitations and contract documents and establish procurement processes in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of protests. VITA recommends that all IT solicitation and contract documents undergo several layers and perspectives of review to yield a holistic review and to mitigate the risk of protest. For VITA issued solicitations and contracts, reviewers include, at a minimum, the procurement project team, SCM Contract Risk Management team if the solicitation and contract are high risk and SCM management. Depending on the complexity and size of the project and determination of “high risk”, subject matter experts/consultants and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) may be requested to participate. While every effort is made to mitigate the risk of protest, there is never any guarantee.
The most obvious areas subject to protest include: how the solicitation document is written (no holes, misguidance, preferential or swayed requirements or conflicting language), proposal evaluation/scoring/weighting content and process integrity, efficient and punctual public postings and supplier notifications, reliability of the procurement project/evaluation team (including conflict of interest and confidentiality), fair and equal communication with and treatment of suppliers prior to award, not adhering to processes or obligations stated in the solicitation document, determination of supplier disqualification/ineligibility/non- responsibility, denial of withdrawal of a supplier’s proposal, relationship with the incumbent supplier, if any, and the award decision itself.