GAO released its Fiscal Year 2019 protest statistics yesterday, and there are both noticeable changes and relative constants:

  • Protest filings are down by 16%, which means about 400 fewer protests than FY18.  The reason why is anyone’s guess, but it’s likely related in large part to GAO’s new Electronic Protest Docketing System — and associated $350 filing fee.  Prior to EPDS, anyone could submit a protest simply by emailing a protest letter to GAO.  Now, a protester must file electronically through a formal docketing system — and pay $350 to get on file.
  • The number of merits decisions is about the same as FY18.  There were only 35 fewer merits decisions in FY19 compared to FY18, lending further support to the theory that the 400 protest-filing decrease is related to EPDS and the filing fee — and that most of those 400 never would have reached a merits decision.
  • The sustain rate is about the same as FY18.  The sustain rate in FY19 is 13%, compared to 15% in FY18.  But more importantly . . .
  • The effectiveness rate is exactly the same as FY18.  The effectiveness rate in FY19 and FY18 was the same — 44%.  The effectiveness rate measures the percentage of all protests filed in which the protester obtains relief “either as a result of voluntary agency corrective action or [GAO] sustaining the protest.”
  • The number of hearings significantly increased from FY18.  There were only 5 hearings in FY18 (i.e., in 0.51% of cases), compared to 21 hearings in FY19 (i.e., in 2% of cases).
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Photo of Jay Carey Jay Carey

A Chambers-rated government contracts practitioner, Jay Carey focuses his practice on bid protests, and regularly represents government contractors before the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Court of Federal Claims. He has prosecuted and defended more than 80 protests, including some of…

A Chambers-rated government contracts practitioner, Jay Carey focuses his practice on bid protests, and regularly represents government contractors before the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Court of Federal Claims. He has prosecuted and defended more than 80 protests, including some of the most high-profile protests in recent years, for clients in the aerospace and defense, biotechnology, healthcare, information technology, and telecommunications sectors. Mr. Carey also counsels clients on compliance matters and all aspects of federal, state, and local government procurement and grant law. He counsels clients extensively on organizational conflicts of interest (OCIs) and on strategies for protecting and preserving intellectual property rights (in patents, data, and software).

Photo of Kayleigh Scalzo Kayleigh Scalzo

Kayleigh Scalzo advises clients on an array of contracting and procurement issues, and has litigated bid protests in both the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.