Solicitation Ambiguities: Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

When a federal solicitation is vague, ambiguous or internally contradictory, it is common for offerors to hold their tongues. Instead of challenging the solicitation’s defects before proposals are due, many offerors decide to submit proposals and “see how it plays out.” Later, if the award goes to a competitor, these offerors may try to protest the solicitation’s defects.

It’s unsurprising that offerors can be reticent to rock the boat before an award is made. But a recent GAO bid protest decision demonstrates, complaining about the ground rules after award rarely works.

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Happy New Year from SmallGovCon!

While it’s always exciting to look to a new year, moving on from 2020 will be especially meaningful. However, there were a number of important updates to federal contracting rules in 2020 that we were excited to share with our readers.

We wish our readers a happy and healthy start to 2021! We’ll continue to keep you up to date on all matters federal contracting.

OHA and the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule: A Two-Prong Test You Can’t Fix After the Fact

In a recent decision, OHA ruled that the ostensible subcontractor rule requires a two-prong evaluation before SBA can find affiliation. The SBA Area Office took a look at only one prong, which resulted in a remand from OHA. Ultimately, OHA found affiliation, reversed the SBA Area Office and found the concern ineligible. As OHA made clear, entities can’t fix deficiencies after the fact.

Think of the ostensible subcontractor rule like the preferred go-to move (other than line dancing) at a Country/Western Dance Hall, it is the ostensible subcontractor two-step. Follow along as I lead you through the dance you need to get right to avoid stepping on the toes of your proposal.

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GAO Annual Bid Protest Report Shows 51% Effectiveness Rate

In 2020, the GAO Bid Protest effectiveness rate crossed the 50% threshold, higher than we’ve seen it in any recent year.  Overall, cases filed went down a mere 2% year over year.

GAO issues its yearly report as a requirement under statute. Congress is particularly concerned with knowing 1) which federal agencies didn’t follow GAO’s recommendations in bid protests and 2) if GAO did not issue a decision in 100 days. As like most years, GAO was “pleased” to report that all agencies followed its recommendations, when given, and that it timely (within 100 days) decided all bid protests.

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SmallGovCon Week in Review: Dec. 21 – Dec. 24, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our SmallGovCon readers! Hope you have a happy and healthy time over the holidays. But in case you need some reading to tide you over, here are some of the top government contracting updates from this week.

These included insights on a potential government shutdown, updates on passage of the NDAA passage and COVID-19 relief bills, and more on the SolarWinds breach.

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