Depending on the type of procurement, an agency will often provide either a brief explanation or debriefing after an award is made. But those explanations are difficult to challenge, as a recent GAO decision confirmed.
In the decision, GAO dismissed a protester’s challenge to the sufficiency of a two-paragraph explanation. Protester failed to show competitive prejudice or regulatory deficiency in the explanation. Since the protester could not demonstrate either of these conditions resulted from the explanation, GAO dismissed these allegations.
When protesting to GAO after receiving a brief explanation, what do you need to know in order to get your foot in the door? Let’s take a look.
With the ongoing rise of technology in the workplace, safe email practices are increasingly important. In particular, many in the cybersecurity community are concerned about email attachments and spam. Even so, in Information Unlimited, Inc., B-415716.40 (Oct. 4, 2019), GAO warned protesters not to delay in opening email attachments provided by the government.
On June 11, the House Armed Services Committee published its draft of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was updated June 19. Among other proposed sections impacting small business contractors which will be discussed in future blog posts, the draft reduces the monetary threshold for comprehensive Department of Defense debriefings and renews the DoD’s Mentor-Protégé Program.
Among its suggestions to streamline the acquisition process,
the Section 809 Panel has proposed to eliminate the ability to file a protest
at GAO and the Court of Federal
Claims. Instead, the Panel would require protesters to choose between filing at
GAO or the Court.
Let’s take a look.
Under FAR Part 15 negotiated procurements, an agency must give notice and an opportunity to request a debriefing to offerors eliminated from the competitive range. But the notice requirement does not apply for task and delivery order procurements under FAR Part 16 where FAR Part 15 is inapplicable.
A recent GAO decision highlights this distinction.
Unless an agency designates different business hours, the FAR says that a government agency is deemed to close at 4:30 p.m. local time–not 5:00 p.m., as it would be easy to assume.
In a recent case, the 4:30 p.m. closing time cost an unsuccessful offeror a chance at a GAO protest because the offeror’s debriefing request, sent to the agency at 4:59 p.m., was deemed untimely.
GAO’s bid protest regulations provide strict timelines for filing a protest.
Typically, a protest challenging an award must be filed within 10 days after the basis of the protest is known or should have been known. There is an exception to this rule for protests filed after a debriefing, but only when a debriefing was required by the FAR. As one contractor recently discovered, where a debriefing is not required, GAO’s bid protest regulations are not nearly as forgiving.