The Government Accountability Office’s annual review of bid protests is out, and it shows the overall number up only slightly while the sustain rate declined two percentage points.
The effectiveness rate also dipped, by three percentage points. That data point looks at all cases filed and calculates the percentage of cases in which a protester obtains some relief, whether through a sustain by the GAO or voluntary corrective action by the agency.
Still, the numbers in total paint a picture of protestors getting some form of relief in nearly half of all claims, perhaps fueling a view that the practice of “lawfare” in government contracting — filing protests and delaying the launch of new programs or changeovers on existing ones — is a worthy cost of doing business.
Andrew Mohr and Kelly Kroll point out that the effectiveness rate is due in large part to corrective actions taken by the agency, something they say they’ve seen a lot of this year.
Typically that’s involved instances where a contractor was eliminated from a competition in the early stages of evaluation based on the technical requirement criteria, but evaluators may have been trying to thin the herd to make the program more manageable, only to see the contractor let back into the competition.
“Being an active federal contractor necessarily includes being an active protester as the federal government, like anyone, doesn’t always get it right,” Kroll said.
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