While losing a procurement is never easy, many contractors will learn some valuable lessons from a debriefing. On top of that, a debriefing can delay bid protest filing deadlines at GAO. However, recently, GAO clarified that the bid protest filing deadline delay for debriefings only applies to GAO protests. A protestor found this out the hard way after a pre-award debrief, and multiple protest actions.Continue reading
One of our favorite fall traditions is back. No, not gorging on stuffing after a turkey trot. Rather, it’s time for GAO’s annual bid protest report. This report is GAO’s summary of bid protests for the previous fiscal year. It contains some key insights for how the protest numbers have changed from prior years.
Here are some key points from this year: (1) the key effectiveness metric, showing numbers of sustains and corrective actions at GAO, was up even higher to 57% for the 2023 fiscal year and (2) total bid protest numbers are up slightly, reversing a downward trend in total protest numbers from the last few years.Continue reading
It’s a tale as old as time, and I’m not talking about “Beauty and the Beast.” I’m talking about an offeror who failed to comply with the registration requirements in FAR 52.204-7. What’s FAR 52.204-7? It’s the FAR provision that requires, among other things, all offerors to be registered in the System for Award Management, or SAM as it is better known. And, as we have seen many times before, there is no way around this rule. Often, failure to be registered in SAM limits an offeror’s eligibility before award is made, making the offeror ineligible for award. However, this time, it affected the award that had already been made, resulting in the court entering a preliminary injunction against the government continuing with its original award.Continue reading
A common path for many federal contractors to bid on and perform a federal contract is through a joint venture (“JV”). Utilizing a JV can provide some great opportunities for two (or sometimes more) businesses to share resources and boost each others’ performance on a contract. Additionally, it can be a great tool for contractors to utilize both JV partners’ experience and to jointly gain more experience. There are even widespread SBA regulations requiring agencies to “consider” both JV partners’ experience in an evaluation. However, there has still been quite a bit of back and forth regarding how agencies are supposed to evaluate a JV’s experience, and specifically what it means to “consider” each JV partners’ individual experience, particularly in situations where only one JV partner submits the experience. In May of 2023, GAO issued a decision that provided at least some clarification on how an agency should consider each JV partner’s experience, and the impact of not doing so.Continue reading
GAO recently sustained a bid protest to a General Services Administration (GSA) acquisition for warehousing and deployment services at the strategic national stockpile–a literal “stockpile” of the nation’s largest supply of critical pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, and emergency supplies. GSA issued this solicitation and conducted this acquisition on behalf of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), an operating agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). But according to GAO, in evaluating offerors under its solicitation, here, GSA failed to provide offerors with the meaningful discussions required by the FAR. So, GAO sustained the protest and recommended that GSA: reopen the procurement to conduct meaningful discussions with offerors, accept and evaluate revised proposals after doing so, and make a new award decision on that basis.Continue reading
The FAR requires offerors, in most situations, to disclose any actual or potential organizational conflicts of interest (OCI) that exist when submitting an offer or proposal in response to a solicitation. While it is rare that an offeror will be excluded from competition solely due to the existence or potential of an OCI, offerors who do not disclose as required will most likely be excluded, making this a situation where you generally want to disclose the existence of an OCI up front, not explain after the agency’s discovery through other means. Offerors may choose to avoid, mitigate, or neutralize an OCI by putting up a organizational barrier between the individual creating the OCI and the perceived or actual conflict. However, in some situations, avoiding, mitigating, or neutralizing the OCI may not be in the agency’s best interest. In that case, and as happened in Accenture Federal Services, LLC, agencies are given the option to waive the requirements of FAR subpart 9.5, thereby making award regardless of the existence or potential of an OCI.Continue reading
Here in Kansas, it is certainly starting to feel like thunderstorm season–and one of my favorite seasons, I might add. But over in D.C., some may say it is starting to feel like protest season! That said, anyone familiar with the protest process at D.C.’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) is probably also quite familiar with the strict timeliness rules GAO applies to such protests. And frankly, even for the seasoned GAO protesters, a refresher on the timeliness rules can be quite beneficial–especially given the answer to when a certain type of protest is due is not always an easy calculation. So, let’s take it back to the basics and run through some of those rules here.Continue reading