On December 10, 2015, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the GAO Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2015. Every fiscal year, the GAO releases data regarding bid protest filings as compared with prior years. For FY 2015, the report shows an increase in both the number and effectiveness (defined as protests sustained or resolved via corrective action) of protests filed at the GAO.
In FY 2015, the number of cases filed with the GAO, 2,639, increased 3% from the prior year. GAO also closed significantly more cases this year than in the prior year: 2,647 as compared to FY 2014’s 2,458. Of those 2,647 cases, however, only 587 resulted in formal decisions of which only 68 sustained the underlying protest (12% sustain rate). The most commonly sustained grounds for protest in FY 2015 were:
(1) unreasonable cost or price evaluation;
(2) unreasonable past performance evaluation;
(3) failure to follow evaluation criteria;
(4) inadequate documentation of the record; and
(5) unreasonable technical evaluation.
Although the 12% sustain rate is low, that figure is somewhat misleading because of the number of cases in which the agency takes voluntary corrective action. The effective rate of cases, which combines both cases that were sustained or resulted in agency corrective action, was 45% in FY 2015. This represents a 2% increase from the prior year and is the highest effective rate in the past 5 years.