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Thursday, February 11, 2010

US Govt bid protests increase with greater access

GAO: Bid protests jump in 2009
The Government Accountability Office, which decides protests lodged by contractors alleging unfairness in a contract competition, received 1,989 protests in 2009, up from 1,652 protests in 2008, according to the report.

The increase was expected, GAO said, because the right to file protests was extended to a wider group of people and companies in 2008. That year, companies were given the ability to protest not only contract awards, but task order awards given under existing multiple-vendor contracts. In addition, federal employees were granted the ability to protest agency outsourcing decisions. And companies doing business with the Transportation Security Administration also were given the right to protest contract decisions, according to the report. Protests in these three categories accounted for half of the increase.

But even while protests increased in 2009, fewer protests were upheld by GAO last year than in 2008. The agency sustained just 18 percent of protests filed based on their merits — down from 21 percent in 2008. Another 149 cases closed in 2009 were settled through a mediation process known as alternative dispute resolution.

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