GAO Issues FY 2012 Bid Protest Report - Protests and Sustains Up From FY 2011

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

[author: John Chierichella]

On November 13, 2012 the Government Accountability Office issued its annual report to Congress regarding its bid protest activity. GAO-13-162SP, GAO Bid Protest Annual Report to the Congress for Fiscal Year 2012, November 13, 2012.

The report revealed a slight increase both in the number of protests filed and in the number sustained.  Total protests filed numbered 2,475, a 5% increase over FY 2011.  This was the largest number of protests filed in any of the last five years and may well reflect industry concern over sequestration, as previously discussed on the blog, and the resulting increased importance placed by competitors on each contracting opportunity.

Not surprisingly, the increased number of protests yielded an increase in the number of protest sustained. The sustain rate increased from 16% in FY 2011 to 18.6%. The 106 sustains represented the highest number for any of the last five years, although the percentage was lower than the 19% and 21% sustain rate experienced in FY 2010 and FY 2008, respectively.

The percentage of cases in which ADR was used, in which it succeeded, and in which hearings were held all declined. The incidence of hearings has in fact experienced a straight lien decline since FY 2009, from 12%, to 10%, to 8% last year, and to 6% in FY 2012.

The report can be found at


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