Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GAO Bid Protests

Filing a bid protest with the Comptroller General's Office (GAO) is very easy. There are no fees. There is no prescribed format, you do not need an attorney and you can mail, email, fax, or hand deliver your protest. Within 100 days, but usually much sooner, a decision is issued.

The GAO recently floated the idea of charging a fee for filing a protest. BusinessWeek called it a "Put Up or Shut Up" Fee. A flat fee of $240 would generate about $600 thousand and would fund an online docket system to help the Agency deal with a rising caseload.

In fiscal year 2012, there were 2,475 protests filed. These filings generated about 16 thousand e-mail messages that are manually filtered by GAO staff. An online docket system would improve and streamline how protests are handled and reduce the risk of mistakes and delays.

The GAO does not believe that a fee would significantly reduce the volume of protests filed but speculated that there are those in Congress who might oppose it because of the impact on small businesses.

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