The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its annual report on bid protests filed during the year and their disposition. The latest report (B-158766, dated November 18, 2014) covers FY 2014.
The report reveals that the number of bid protests continue to be on the upswing while the number of protests ruled to have merit is declining. In addition, the overall “effectiveness rate” (i.e., where the agency involved grants some type of remedy or corrective action in response to the protest) remains flat.
Statistical details derived from the recent GAO report, compared to reports from the previous four years, can be seen in the chart below.
The number of cases filed in FY 2014 – 2,445 bid protests, 50 cost claims, and 66 requests for reconsideration – were up by 5% compared to FY 2013. Of the total cases filed, only 556 were decided on their merits, and only 72 (or 13%) were sustained.
The most prevalent reasons for sustaining protests were: failure to follow evaluation criteria, flawed selection decisions, unreasonable technical evaluations, and unequal treatment.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) was used in only 96 cases.
The GAO report reveals that while protesters faced a decreased likelihood of success on the merits in a final decision from the GAO, agencies appeared to be slightly more inclined to take corrective action than in years past. In the end, nearly half of all protesters were afforded some type of relief.
What these data do not specifically address is that the majority of protests do not reach a decision on the merits due to voluntary corrective action. Corrective action is commonly taken voluntarily by agencies because of flaws in evaluating bids and proposals. This has implications for both potential protestors and agencies in post-award debriefings.
A copy of the GAO’s latest bid protest report can be downloaded here: GAO Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress – FY 2014