Tuesday, December 15, 2015

GAO Publishes Fiscal Year 2015 Bid Protest Statistics

The GAO (General Accountability Office) just published its Fiscal Year 2015 bid protest annual report to Congress summarizing data concerning overall protest filings for the year. It also shows comparative data from four earlier fiscal years.

The number of bid protest cases filed during the year rose three percent to 2,639 cases from fiscal year 2014. All of the data was presented without analysis so there is no explanation given for why the number of cases increases each year. From 2011 to current, the number of cases has risen by 12 percent. We know the Government is trying hard by better training, leadership, and documentation to reduce the number of bid protests so this trend runs counter to those efforts.

GAO closed about as many as were filed during the year. Most of the close cases were resolved prior to a GAO hearing however. Of the 2,647 cases closed, GAO rendered decisions on only 587 cases. Of the 587 cases decided on merit, 68 were sustained. So one way for contractors to assess their chances of sustaining an appeal is to note that only 11.5 percent of cases that go to hearing are decided in favor of the contractor. The sustention rate has dropped off from earlier years. In fiscal year 2013, it was 18.6 percent. Again, since the GAO provided no analysis as to why the drop, we don't know the cause for the sharp decline in number of sustentions. The statistics do suggest that the number of meritless filings are increasing.

The GAO report also includes an "Effectiveness Rate" which is the measure of protesters obtaining some form of relief from the agency, as reported to the GAO, either as a result of voluntary agency corrective action or GAO sustaining the protest. The effectiveness rate for fiscal year 2015 was 45 percent which means that protesters might be better off making a deal with the agency than pursuing a case through to a formal decision. The effectiveness rate has increased slightly over prior years.

It would be very interesting to see these statistics cut by law firm.

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