Source selection decisions are often a point of contention for federal government contractors, and rightfully so. Contractors spend large amounts of time and resources putting together a bid in a competition that likely doesn’t have room to make an award to each bidder. This usually results in one or more awardees, as well as one or more disappointed bidders. Naturally, those disappointed bidders often question whether the agency’s source selection decision, and its method for getting there, was appropriate. Unfortunately, the only way of truly discerning whether that decision was correct is to spend more time and resources protesting the decision. With a 51% effectiveness rate in 2022 (counting sustains and corrective actions), according to GAO’s annual bid protest report, it can be difficult to determine whether to even go forward with a protest when things don’t seem to add up. But, as a recent protest demonstrates, agencies make mistakes, and in this case, the fatal flaw was failure to adequately document its decision.Continue reading
Tag Archives: GAO bid protest
2022 Bid Protest Report, Success Rate Up, Total Protests Down
GAO’s annual bid protest report is a fall tradition for federal contracting attorneys. It’s perhaps not quite as tasty as stuffing in my book, but always interesting. In it, GAO summarizes its slate of bid protests for the previous fiscal year, and we can glean insights from 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 again to 51% for the 2022 fiscal year and (2) total bid protest numbers are down slightly, continuing a trend from the last few years.Continue reading
Back to Basics: Pre-Award Bid Protests
Many bid protests we handle at Koprince McCall Pottroff are filed after the contract has been awarded to an offeror. However, sometimes there are issues that are apparent in the solicitation that require clarification or correction prior to the bidding or proposal deadline. In these situations, potential offerors can file a pre-award protest that challenges solicitation terms, but, as with most GAO matters, there are strict deadlines that must be adhered to if the protestor wants to avoid her protest being dismissed. While pre-award protest is the common term, remember that a challenge to a solicitation’s terms is due before the proposal deadline.Continue reading
GAO Sustains Protest to Solicitation’s Implementation of Randolph-Sheppard Act
GAO recently sustained a protest to the terms of a solicitation incorporating the Randolph-Sheppard Act (RSA). The RSA is a statutorily-prescribed preference for blind individuals in the operation of vending facilities (which include cafeterias, snack bars, and automatic vending machines) on Federal property.
The protester here, the incumbent contractor and a non-RSA HUBZone concern, challenged the agency’s decision to include the RSA preference in its HUBZone set-aside solicitation for food service attendant services, arguing the work the solicitation contemplated was not for the operation of a cafeteria. And GAO agreed. This GAO decision could have a significant impact, given the broad range of food service solicitations that agencies have been (seemingly increasingly) applying the RSA to lately. Let’s take a deeper dive.Continue reading
Transformers: Offerors in Disguise – GAO Sustains Protest Regarding Evaluation Based on Separate Offers from the same Offeror
Without wanting to make the audience feel too old, I was not yet born when Transformers was a pop culture phenomenon. Still, it’s a simple but fun concept: robots that transform to and from cool vehicles. Regardless of what form they take, they are still the same character.
The same cannot be said of government contractors submitting an initial bid for the first phase of a solicitation as a prime contractor and a bid as a member of a contractor teaming agreement (CTA) for the second phase of said solicitation. While the same company is involved, the bids are treated as being from different entities. Such was the case in the GAO matter of Softrams, LLC, B-419927.4 (Feb. 7, 2022).Continue reading
2021 GAO Bid Protest Report Reveals Nearly Half of Protests are Successful
GAO has released its annual bid protest report. Along with mashed potatoes and stuffing, it’s one of our favorite holiday traditions at SmallGovCon. This report came over a month earlier than last year, making this more of a Thanksgiving treat than Christmas this year.
A couple key takeaways are (1) the key effectiveness metric, showing numbers of sustains and corrective actions at GAO, was 48% for the 2021 fiscal year and (2) total bid protest numbers are down slightly, continuing a trend from the last few years.Continue reading
GAO Affirms any Discussions During Evaluations Must be Meaningful
Evaluation of offers is a crucial point in the procurement process. During this time period, an agency may, in certain procurements, reach out with discussion questions meant to bring clarity to the decision-making process. However, any such discussions must be meaningful.
As one offeror recently found out, meaningful discussions even apply in so-called simplified acquisitions.Continue reading