Bid protests are a ubiquitous part of government contracting, basically considered part of the normal procurement process. While bid protests can be filed at either the procuring agency level or at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the majority of bid protests are filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Recently, on April 15, 2016, GAO released a proposed rule that will make several significant changes to their bid protest process. These proposed changes clarify some elements of the process, while at the same time raise several questions about how these new rules will affect protesters moving forward.
The primary change proposed by GAO is for the creation of an electronic filing system for the filing and administering of GAO bid protests. Currently, GAO bid protests are conducted almost exclusively via email. GAO has a dedicated email address that protesters and other parties to a protest use for filings. The proposed rule will establish the Electronic Protest Docketing System (EPDS), which will be the sole means for filing a bid protest with GAO (except for protests containing classified material). Whereas the current system does not have any filing costs, GAO anticipates a filing fee in the amount of $350 for any protest filed through EPDS.
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