Don’t Rely on Auto-Generated EPDS Filing Emails, says GAO

Earlier this year, GAO unveiled its new Electronic Protest Docketing System (“EPDS”) for bid protests. EPDS serves as the central filing system for all bid protests pursued before GAO. As a courtesy, EPDS will automatically generate a courtesy email notice anytime a new document is filed with GAO.

In a recent Request for Reconsideration, however, GAO was asked to reconsider its dismissal of a protest after the protester failed to receive the automatically-generated EPDS notice that the Agency Report had been filed. GAO held that the protester in question couldn’t rely on its failure to receive the email to avoid the ordinary timeliness rules applicable to GAO bid protests.

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SBA Proposes Big Changes to the HUBZone Program (Continued)

Big changes could be coming to the HUBZone program. On October 31, the SBA published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would bring clarity to the HUBZone regulations. Yesterday, we posted about proposed changes to the HUBZone certification, compliance, and protest processes.

In this post, we wanted to bring you up to speed on some of the more substantive revisions to the way HUBZone employees are defined and counted under the proposed rule.

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SBA Proposes Big Changes to the HUBZone Program

The SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone program intends well—by directing awards to contractors in regions that have been passed by economically, the federal government has tried to lift these areas up. But the HUBZone program has exacting regulations, which (ironically) have helped cause it to be an underutilized tool for contracting officers. This could soon change.

On October 31, the SBA published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would bring clarity to the HUBZone regulations. In this post, we wanted to bring you up to speed on some of the more substantive proposed changes regarding certification requirements and the HUBZone protest process. Changes to employee definitions and requirements will be handled in another post.

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GAO Recommends Successful Protester Be Placed in MATOC Pool

Multiple-award task-order contracts are becoming an increasingly common feature of government contracting, and many carry very high ceiling values. This places participation in MATOC awards at a premium.

Unsurprisingly, base MATOC awards are being protested with some frequency before GAO. In a recent decision, GAO provided a unique solution for sustaining MATOC protests without causing substantial disruptions: simply adding the successful protester to the pool.

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Protester Must Wait for Conclusion of Extended Debriefing to Protest, Says GAO

As those familiar with government contracts are undoubtedly aware, ensuring a bid protest is timely filed with GAO is a paramount consideration. GAO takes a particularly dim view of protests not filed in accordance with its timeliness regulations, which can encourage parties to file a protest as quickly as possible. As GAO recently explained, however, in the context of extended debriefings, there is such a thing as filing too soon.

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GAO Reviews Agency Actions in the Wake of Equifax Data Breach

It’s easy to forget that roughly a year ago, Equifax was hacked, which compromised the personal information of roughly 145.5 million individuals. The scope of the breach was concerning for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that Equifax was providing identity verification services for three federal agencies at the time it was attacked.

In a recent report, GAO reviewed how these agencies responded to the attack. While not making any specific recommendations at this time, GAO’s report does highlight the extent to which federal agencies were not fully prepared for cyberattacks on private contractors.

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GAO: Protest Sustained Where Agency Improperly Applied Adjectival Ratings

Recently, GAO sustained a bid protest where the ratings assigned to the unsuccessful offeror’s proposal did not conform to the definitions identified within the Solicitation.

For those of you frequent the blog, you may recall earlier this year when we blogged on GAO’s decision in Immersion Consulting, LLC, B-415155 et al. (Dec. 4, 2017) where the Source Selection Authority had unilaterally revised the Source Selection Evaluation Board’s evaluation prior to making an award decision. GAO sustained the protest and instructed the agency to reevaluate proposals. This same procurement was subject to another round of protests following the agency’s reevaluation.

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