GAO’s Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Report Provides Valuable Insight as to Keys to Successful Protests

February 6, 2014

The GAO’s recent Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress shows that bid protesters have succeeded most often when challenging process-related issues, rather than the reasonableness of the agency’s decision.  The annual report indicates that successful bid protests most commonly addressed: (1) failure to follow solicitation criteria; (2) unequal treatment; (3) inadequate documentation; and (4) unreasonable price and/or cost evaluations. 

While the GAO did not provide specific statistics regarding the rate of success for each of those protest grounds, the report makes clear that protesters most often succeed when attacking procedures, rather than evaluations.  It is also worth noting that while protests based on unreasonable price or cost evaluations did make the top four list for successful protests, protests concerning the reasonableness of technical evaluations did not.

The GAO’s annual report also revealed an increase in the number of protests filed when compared to fiscal year 2012.  That statistic comes as no surprise, as the GAO has seen an increase in the number of protests filed every year since 2008.  In order to help manage the continued rise in the number of protests filed, the GAO has recently announced plans to develop an online docketing system and begin charging a fee on new protests.