Protecting sensitive business information, especially pricing, is essential even in the GAO bid protest realm. As an agency found out, even an inadvertent release of such information could lead to a sustained protest.
This slip up resulted in the cancellation of a nearly $1 billion contract. Needless to say, this was a big deal. How did this happen, and what should parties be looking for to protect their confidential data?
Intervening in a GAO bid protest can be an important way to protect a federal contractor’s award. But when can you and should you intervene? Here’s how this might come up. As a federal contractor, you work hard to submit the best proposal you can, and then find out you win the award. A few days after, you find out you’ve been protested as part of a GAO bid protest. What are your options for responding to such a protest? Below, I’ll discuss the five things you should know about intervening in a GAO bid protest.
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.
While most of our get-togethers these days involve mask wearing, social distancing, and even virtual happy hours, spending time with friends is a great way to keep spirits light. Unfortunately for one group of friends, their weekly hangouts led GAO to conclude in its recent decision, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., B-418835 (Sept. 25, 2020), that NASA had to cancel a more than $650 million deal and start the procurement process all over.
If you’re contemplating a bid protest at the Government Accountability Office, meeting its task order jurisdiction threshold might be a box you need to check! Join me as I explain the details of GAO’s task order jurisdiction.
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If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: when it comes to submitting your GAO protest, meeting GAO’s strict timeliness requirements is a must. So is watching out for notices on contract awards posted online. In Prudential Protective Services, LLC, B-418869 (Aug. 13, 2020), the protest was dismissed as untimely because it was filed more than 10 days after notice of the award was posted to beta.SAM.gov.
In its recent decision, Peraton, Inc., B-416916.8, et al. (Aug. 3, 2020), GAO ultimately sustained a protest that the Department of State’s corrective action was unreasonably limited—recommending the protester be reimbursed its protest costs in the process.
For more on how it reached this result, buckle up! Because it was a long road for the protester to reach the GAO sustain.