How to Plan and File a Bid Protest in Government Contracting

In the competitive world of government contracting, there is always a risk when you pursue a contract. In some cases, you will lose a contract despite the appearance of having met or exceeded all of the decision factors, perhaps more so than the winning firm. If you don’t agree with the decision of a contracting officer or government agency regarding a contract bid or awarded contract, the federal contracting regulations provide you with the option of pursuing a bid or award protest.

The process of filing a bid protest is not simple. In order to start the process, you must be sure that you can prove that your case has merit in order for it to be heard. The attorneys at Watson & Associates stress the importance of your decision to file, and the necessity to follow procedure accurately and with precision.

“Whether you are filing a GAO bid protest or a protest before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, failure to meet the definition of a bid protest can get your case dismissed. You still have to carefully decide whether there is actual merit to your case, the likelihood of success, and whether the law supports your position. These are critical decisions for corporate executives to make in such a short timeline.”

As far as the actual filing of the bid protest, you have three different options:

  • Agency level
  • GAO
  • Court of Federal Claims

Each outlet offers different advantages and the cost of pursuing your protest via one or the other may vary dramatically. Ultimately, you need to determine which venue is the appropriate one for you to pursue. GAO protests are the most common, mainly because they are inexpensive and quite often successful, according to attorneys at Watkins and Meegan for General Counsel.

When filing your bid protest, the protest will have to be written and sent to the office of the applicable forum (i.e. GAO). There is a list of requirements needed for the protest filing, such as identifying the contract or solicitation number, a detailed statement about the factual and legal points of the protest, and any documents which are relevant to the grounds of the protest. These requirements can be found on the forum’s website, such as that for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

After filing, the decision will be made by the forum within the next 100 days. Before pursuing any action of this nature, you should seek the advice of qualified legal counsel to help you determine the appropriate and logical course of action.

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