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).