SmallGovCon Week In Review: March 20-24, 2017

The mantra of March Madness is “survive and advance,” but the Kansas Jayhawks did more than that in their 32-point win over Purdue last night. Here in Lawrence, we’re waiting for tomorrow night’s Elite Eight showdown with Oregon. And since waiting is always better with some good reading material, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review.

In this week’s edition, a look at how President Trump’s proposed military budget will impact customers, a contractor agrees to a whopping $45 million payout to settle allegations of overcharging the government, the Army contends that protests are “nearly automatic,” and much more.

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2017 NDAA Reiterates GAO Bid Protest Reporting Requirements

Under the Competition in Contracting Act, the Government Accountability Office is required to issue an annual report to Congress that summarizes the “most prevalent grounds” of sustained protests, identifies the instances in which GAO was not able to decide a protest within its 100-day deadline, and list any protest where the agency did not follow GAO’s recommendations.

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act doubles down on this first requirement: it mandates that GAO provide Congress with a list of the most common grounds for sustaining protests. This only begs the question: why would Congress require GAO to do something it’s already required to do (and that it’s already doing)?

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GAO’s Civilian Task Order Jurisdiction Restored

GAO’s jurisdiction to hear protests of certain civilian task and delivery orders has been restored.

On December 15, 2016, the President signed the 2016 GAO Civilian Task and Delivery Order Protest Authority Act (the “ 2016 Act”) into law.  The 2016 Act restores GAO’s recently-expired jurisdiction to hear protests of civilian task and delivery orders valued in excess of $10 million.

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GAO Bid Protest “Sustains” Jump Sharply In FY 2016

The GAO sustained 22.56% of protests decided on the merits in Fiscal Year 2016–nearly double the 12% sustain rate reported in FY 2015.

According to the GAO’s FY 2016 Bid Protest Annual Report, the GAO sustained 139 of the 616 protests decided on the merits (that is, cases where GAO actually reached a “sustain” or “deny” decision).  The overall effectiveness rate for protesters–a combination of “sustain” decisions, plus the many cases in which agencies took corrective action in response to protests–was 46%, a slight increase over the prior fiscal year.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: December 14-18, 2015

With Christmas just one week away, we are looking forward to gathering with our families and celebrating this holiday season. But even with the holidays approaching, there was no shortage of news this week.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, Guy Timberlake takes a look at the government contracting landscape in 2016, bid protests continue a slow but steady rise, a brazen contractor seeks $3,160 per hour for his time spent handling a successful protest, and much more.

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GAO Protests (And Effectiveness) Rise In FY 2015

GAO bid protests were up 3% in Fiscal Year 2015–and protesters achieved a favorable outcome in 45% of cases.

In its Annual Report to Congress on its bid protest function, the GAO provided a look at how protesters fared during FY 2015, as well as the most common reasons protests were sustained.

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GAO Bid Protests: “Sustains” Lower But “Effectiveness” Steady

The GAO sustained only 13% of bid protests in Fiscal Year 2014, down from 17% in the previous fiscal year.

But although some commentators might interpret the numbers as a sign that more non-meritorious protests were filed, the “effectiveness rate” (which measures sustain decisions plus voluntary agency corrective actions) remained steady at 43%.  In other words, agencies are taking corrective action more frequently in response to GAO bid protests–but when the agency doesn’t take corrective action, the protester’s odds of success may be long.

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