On Tuesday, GAO released its Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2022, which provides bid protest statistics and other interesting information regarding GAO’s protest system.
- The number of protest filings dropped by 12% from FY21. After a 12% drop in FY21, protest filings went down another 12% in FY22, with the lowest number of cases filed since FY08.
- The sustain rate dipped from 15% to 13%. The sustain rate considers only the subset of cases that go all the way to a decision on the merits, and measures the percentage of those decisions that sustained the protest. In FY22, GAO issued 455 merit decisions, and 59 of those were sustained, resulting in a sustain rate of 13% — solidly within GAO’s historical range of sustain rates. The three most prevalent reasons for sustaining protests in FY22 were (1) unreasonable technical evaluation; (2) flawed selection decision; and (3) flawed solicitation.
- The effectiveness rate was a high 51%. A significant number of protests filed at GAO do not result in a decision on the merits because agencies voluntarily decide to take corrective action before a decision on the merits is reached. As a result, the more indicative statistic for favorable outcomes in a bid protest is the “effectiveness rate,” which measures the percentage of all protests filed in which the protester obtains “some form of relief from the agency . . . either as a result of voluntary agency corrective action or [GAO] sustaining the protest.”
The 51% effectiveness rate for FY22 is the highest ever recorded by GAO, matching the all-time high of 51% in FY20 and greater than the FY21 effectiveness rate of 48%. That means that in slightly more than half of all protests in FY22, the protester obtained some form of relief, confirming that protests can be worthwhile for disappointed offerors who have legitimate concerns about a procurement.
- The number of hearings dropped to .27%. Hearings are increasingly rare especially as compared to a decade ago, when 8-10% of fully-developed cases resulted in a hearing. GAO conducted hearings in only 2 cases in FY22.
GAO’s annual bid protest report continues to provide useful information regarding GAO’s protest system.