Important Takeaways from GAO’s Bid Protest — Annual Report to Congress

  |  December 4, 2018

Bob Kucharuk–

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2018 on November 27.  During FY 2018, GAO received 2,607 cases:  2,474 protests, 55 cost claims, and 78 requests for reconsideration. The majority of protests were dismissed as GAO deemed evaluation to be consistent with the terms of the solicitation.

15% of Protests Sustained

Of the protests resolved during FY 2018, GAO sustained only 15 percent.  The most prevalent reasons for sustaining the protests were:  (1) unreasonable technical evaluation; (2) unreasonable cost or price evaluation; or (3) flawed selection decision.

Key Takeaways for Federal Government Contractors:

1- Carefully review each proposal for compliance before submission in light of the instructions, FAR clauses, and amendments.  Sadly, much effort is sometimes devoted to proposal development and leaving something out that is required can be grounds for elimination.

2- Always request a debrief.  Sometimes when you lose, you can win for the long term by learning where your proposal fell short. In very rare instances, you might even discover an error was made in the evaluation by receiving a debrief.


    George Woodruff

    GAO protests are a joke. Filed a protest against competitor that won initial award three years ago; I could not bid as my weight was 15 lbs. over against a 165 basis; however, was superior product. The Company could not perform; Gov’t dropped requirements so they could meet. GAO never called; offered competitive test; it was a sham.

    Russell Smith

    George, Thanks for your comments on your experience as the proverbial 15 pounder against the 165 pounder. All too many bidders have been in this same situation. The only answer I know is to work for greater customer intimacy. Meet with the customer far in advance of the solicitation. Establish your bona fides. And do whatever is needed to educate him as to your low-risk capability to do the job. When you have pre-sold the job in this way, you can then then have an expectation of being successful when you submit your proposal.