GAO Annual Report Shows Process-Related Protest Grounds Most Successful, Among Other Trends

GAO’s most recent Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress, for FY 2013, shows protesters are achieving the most success not by attacking an agency’s evaluation judgments as unreasonable, but by challenging evaluation process-related issues.  That result is not surprising, given the strong deference GAO affords agencies’ judgments regarding the comparative merit or risk of proposals.  The report also shows two other important trends.  First, GAO is receiving more task order protests than ever before.  GAO closed 259 task order protests during FY 2013 — 50 more than in any prior year.  Second, GAO continues to hold fewer hearings to resolve protests.  In FY 2013 GAO conducted just 31 hearings (just 3.4% of all fully developed cases during the year).  This follows a trend of steady, consistent decline in the number of GAO has conducted:  12% of fully developed cases in FY 2009; 10% of cases in FY 2010; 8% in FY 2011, and 6.2% in FY 2012.

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