Of late the pages of this blog have been entirely coronavirus and COVID-19 obsessed—and for good reason. But that does not stop the Government Accountability Office from deciding bid protests.
With all that’s been going on, writing about a GAO decision regarding run-of-the-mill unreasonable cost realism evaluation is downright refreshing.
When considering where to file a bid protest, you have options at the agency level, Government Accountability Office, and Court of Federal Claims. But not all options are available for protests of task and delivery order awards. The Court of Federal Claims recently reminded a protester that it lacks jurisdiction over task and delivery orders, even where an agency is proposing to bundle multiple separate contracts into one task order.
So, your company has made it past the first big hurdle and got on a GSA schedule. You see a small business task order pop up that you believe your company would be perfect for, but another company gets the award. Based on information you have heard or read, you believe something fishy may be going on and the awarded company may be a big fish that found its way into the small pond. But can you timely protest the task order award?
When GAO lacks jurisdiction to hear a protest over a task or delivery order, contractors have the right to complain to an ombudsman. Implementation of the ombudsman right, however, has been haphazard at best.
Last week, the DoD, GSA, and NASA–the entities comprising the FAR Council–proposed a rule to help alleviate this issue for IDIQ contracts.
As agencies look for ways to streamline acquisitions, task and delivery order procurements are becoming increasingly popular. But an agency doesn’t have unfettered discretion to award work under a multiple-award contract; each task or delivery order must be within the scope of the awarded IDIQ.
A recent GAO opinion considers what happens when an agency issues task orders that are outside the scope of the underlying multiple-award contract.
Only a very small percentage of DoD contracts–0.3 percent, to be precise–are protested, according to a comprehensive and fascinating new report on bid protests issued by the RAND Corporation.
The detailed report, which was prepared at the behest of Congress, concludes that DoD bid protests are “exceedingly uncommon,” and typically aren’t frivolous. RAND’s analysts urge policymakers to carefully consider the data when evaluating whether reforms to the bid protest process are necessary–and to “avoid drawing overall conclusions or assumptions about trends from one case when it comes to the efficacy of the bid protest system.”
Amen to that.