When my nephew started kindergarten, his vocabulary expanded to include a new phrase: “Rules are rules, and you have to follow the rules!” For my nephew (who, if I’m being honest, can be a bit mischievous), this newfound respect for following rules was adorable.
Government contractors should commit this lesson to heart: you have to follow the rules! As one government contractor recently learned, this includes GAO’s bid protest filing rules. Where a protester doesn’t follow the rules, its protest is likely to be dismissed.
The GAO is proposing a major overhaul of its bid protest filing system.
In a Federal Register notice published today, the GAO proposes significant changes regarding how protests are filed (get ready for filing fees), the timeliness of bid protests, and much more.
A protester’s failure to timely file its bid protest at GAO is almost always certain to lead to the dismissal of its protest. But knowing when the clock starts running for an offeror to file its protest isn’t always clear.
This uncertainty recently tripped up a would-be protester seeking to challenge its exclusion from the competitive range—because that offeror failed to request a pre-award debriefing, its attempt to protest its exclusion following the award and a post-award debriefing was untimely.
An agency’s preaward notice did not start the “clock ticking” for an unsuccessful competitor’s subsequent GAO bid protest.
In a recent decision, the GAO held that the protesters were not required to file their GAO bid protests within 10 days of receiving the agency’s preaward notice because the protests were based on an allegation that the agency had failed to conduct a price realism evaluation–and the protesters were not made aware of the awardee’s price in the preaward notice.
One of the first questions a contractor must ask itself before filing a bid protest with the GAO is whether its protest would be timely filed. But as a recent GAO decision highlighted, the answer to that question might not be so clear.
Contrary to a common misconception, a protest is not always timely if filed within 10 days of a debriefing. As one prospective protester learned, if the debriefing is not “required” under applicable law, a GAO protest filed within 10 days of a debriefing might be untimely.
When bid protest document is emailed to the GAO, the document must timely arrive at the GAO’s official protest email address (email@example.com), or the document is not timely filed.
As one protester recently learned the hard way, a GAO protest filing cannot be accomplished by emailing a protest document to any other email address–including the individual “gao.gov” email address of the GAO attorney handling the protest.