In latest edition of The Wright Toolbox:
- 2020 GAO Bid Protest Annual Report- read now
2020 GAO Bid Protest Annual Report
On December 23, 2020, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) issued its annual Bid Protest Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2020. During 2020, the GAO received 2,149 cases (down from 2019 – 2198 cases). The breakdown of the cases was as follows: 2,052 protests, 56 cost claims, and 41 requests for reconsideration. The GAO closed 2,137 cases during the fiscal year. Of the protests resolved on the merits during 2020 (545), only 15% were sustained. The most prevalent reasons for sustaining protests during 2020 were: (1) unreasonable technical evaluation; (2) flawed solicitation; (3) unreasonable cost or price evaluation; and (4) unreasonable past performance evaluation. The GAO noted that a significant number of protests filed with the office do not reach a decision on the merits because some agencies voluntarily take corrective action in response to a protest rather than defend the protest on the merits. Agencies are not required to report the reasons for deciding to take voluntary corrective action.
The GAO also reported that its “Effectiveness Rate” for 2020 was 51%, increasing from the 44% in 2019. The Effectiveness Rate is based on a protester obtaining some form of relief from the agency, as reported to the GAO, either as a result of voluntary agency corrective action or the GAO sustaining the protest. Of interest, the Report notes that alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) was used in 124 cases (triple the number of cases in 2019 – 40) and that the ADR process was 82% successful in resolving the cases. If you were looking forward to having your day in “court” regarding your protest with the GAO, don’t count on it. In 2020, the GAO conducted merit hearings in just 9 cases.
While the direct sustain rate at the GAO remains low at 15%, perhaps the more accurate measure of results is the Effectiveness Rate, which reflects the percentage of time that a protester obtains some form of relief. Thus, protests result in some form of relief almost 51% of the time. If you have any issues or questions regarding protests, please contact our Government Contracts Practice Group.