Let’s suppose that you just received a new solicitation hot off the press. As you peruse it, you find a requirement that you believe is too onerous or unnecessary. So you contemplate filing a GAO protest to challenge that term.
Before doing so, be sure that you’re an “interested party” under GAO’s regulations. Well, I filed a protest, you say, doesn’t that make me an interested party? Short answer: no.
You know what they say about when you assume. Unfortunately, one contractor recently discovered that taking an assumed business name can have serious repercussions for proposal eligibility.
In order to protest a procurement at GAO, the protester must be an “interested party.” An interested party is an “actual or prospective bidder or offeror whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of the contract or by the failure to award the contract.”
But does the identity of the protester have to be the same as the offeror under the procurement? GAO recently offered some guidance on that question.
Only an “interested party” can bring a GAO bid protest. This generally means that a protester must be “an actual or prospective bidder or offeror” with a “direct economic interest” in the contract’s award.
You might ask: is there such a thing as an offeror without a direct economic interest in the outcome of the contract award? It can happen–and a novation may be relevant. In a recent case, GAO held that a pending novation meant that the protester didn’t meet the standard necessary to file a protest.
A subsidiary cannot file an SBA size protest on behalf of its parent company.
Last week, I wrote about an SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals case holding that a parent couldn’t file a size appeal on behalf of its subsidiary. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that the same principles apply to initial size protests, too.
If you’re a winner under a solicitation, you can’t challenge the ground rules under which you won–at least under the facts of a recent GAO bid protest decision.
In that decision, GAO concluded that the protestor of a solicitation’s terms lacked standing when the protester was subsequently identified as an awardee under the solicitation.
A non-SDVOSB company couldn’t protest the terms of a VA SDVOSB set-aside solicitation, despite entering into a joint venture agreement with an SDVOSB–because the joint venture hadn’t started the process of becoming verified by the VA.
In a recent bid protest decision, GAO held that because neither the protester nor the joint venture was included in the VIP database, or likely to be included during the protest process, the protester wasn’t an “interested party” under the GAO’s bid protest regulations.