GAO Announces 5% Increase in Bid Protests for FY 2014, 13% Sustain Rate

The Government Accountability Office has released its Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2014.  In addition to providing data concerning GAO’s overall protest filings for the fiscal year, the report includes information on each instance in which an agency did not fully implement a recommendation in connection with a bid protest. The report also summarizes the most prevalent grounds for sustaining protests.

For FY 2014, GAO received 2,561 cases, an increase of 5 percent over FY 2013.  The cases consisted of 2,445 protests, 50 cost claims, and 66 requests for reconsideration. Of the 2,458 cases GAO closed, 292 were attributable to GAO’s bid protest jurisdiction over task orders.

The report notes an effective rate of 43 percent.  This is where a protester obtained some form of relief from the agency, as reported to GAO, either as a result of voluntary agency corrective action or GAO sustaining the protest.

GAO used alternative dispute resolution procedures in 96 cases, and reports an effective rate of 83 percent for those matters.

Of the 556 decisions resolved on the merits, GAO sustained 13 percent. The most prevalent reasons for sustaining the protests were failure to follow the evaluation criteria, flawed selection decision, unreasonable technical evaluation, and unequal treatment.

42 cases, or 4.7 percent, went to hearing.

Only one agency did not implement a GAO bid protest recommendation. The decision, Asiel Enterprises, Inc., B-408315.2, September 5, 2013, involved the Air Force’s efforts to implement its Food Transformation Initiative without following applicable competitive procurement procedures.

For more information, see the full report.

About William Van Huis

Bill Van Huis is a Senior Writer/Analyst for Wolters Kluwer Law & Business who tracks and analyzes new regulations impacting federal government contracting. He also follows court decisions involving bid protests and contract disputes. You can find his work in WK publications like Government Contract Reports and the FAR and DFARS Matrix Tools. Bill is a Certified Professional Contracts Manager, and he has a law degree from Southern Illinois University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Prior to joining WK, Bill worked both inside and outside state and local government in the areas of procurement and municipal finance. Bill also worked as a staff attorney for the Illinois Supreme Court.
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