The holiday season is upon us, time for cherished traditions. If you’re anything like us at Koprince Law, one of these traditions is reviewing the GAO’s annual bid protest report.
The overall picture I got from the report, while perhaps not the best clickbait, is that GAO bid protest figures have remained remarkably steady over the past few years. As it has been for the last few years, close to 50% of protests succeed. This stability is a story worth repeating.
GAO bid protests filed by small businesses are (statistically speaking) less likely to succeed than protests filed by large contractors, according to the RAND Corporation’s recent bid protest study.
The disparity isn’t the result of discrimination against small businesses, but rather a product of other factors: primarily, the motivation to protest, the understanding of the protest system, and access to legal counsel. RAND raises an important point, but offers no fair and easy solution. Perhaps, given that protests overall are “exceedingly uncommon,” a solution isn’t needed–but it’s wise to think about whether there are ways to help small businesses become better educated about bid protests.
GAO bid protests decreased slightly in Fiscal Year 2013, down 2% from the previous year. The “effectiveness rate” for protesters–a statistic that includes both formal GAO sustain decisions and voluntary agency corrective actions–was 43%, up slightly from FY 2012.
The GAO’s FY 2013 statistics are included in its January 2 Annual Report to Congress, which also includes a few other bid protest tidbits of note.