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17756221 1 1 GAO Bid Protests For Contractor Personnel Breakout Session #406 Name:Richard B. Oliver, Esq. John G. Horan, Esq.

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Presentation on theme: "17756221 1 1 GAO Bid Protests For Contractor Personnel Breakout Session #406 Name:Richard B. Oliver, Esq. John G. Horan, Esq."— Presentation transcript:

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2 GAO Bid Protests For Contractor Personnel Breakout Session #406 Name:Richard B. Oliver, Esq. John G. Horan, Esq. Date:Tuesday, July 20, 2010 Time:10:30-11:15 a.m.

3 Introduction Goal of becoming familiar with the GAO bid protest process In view of the GAO Protective Order “Cone of Silence” requirements, how to successfully support your bid protest team

4 Agenda GAO bid protest process overview Timeliness rules Stay rules Preparing for a debriefing Protective orders Frequently successful protest grounds Corrective actions Supporting your protest legal team

5 GAO Bid Protest Overview Notice of award Debriefing Timely protest CICA stay Awardee intervention Motions to dismiss Protective order

6 GAO Bid Protest Overview (cont.) Agency report within 30 days Comments and supplemental protests within 10 days Supplemental report and comments Hearings Decision within 100 days

7 GAO Bid Protest Timeliness Rules Strictly enforced – protest is dismissed –Calendar days –GAO office hours Often cannot wait to file protest until contract award decision is announced Timeliness rules listed in 4 C.F.R –Solicitation improprieties –General ten day rule –Denial of agency protest, including informal protest –Required debriefing

8 GAO Bid Protest Timeliness Rules (cont.) Special areas of concern –Solicitation modifications –Elimination from competitive range –Procurement Integrity Act violations –Organizational Conflicts of Interest –Corrective actions With complex timeliness rules, raise possible protest concerns immediately

9 CICA Stay Rules Per 31 U.S.C. 3553, agency must suspend contract performance if procuring agency receives notice that protest is filed –Within 10 days of contract award –Within 5 days of required debriefing Filing at GAO is not sufficient, agency must receive timely notice from GAO

10 CICA Stay Rules (cont.) Required debriefings –Time requirements Written request within 3 days Should be held within 5 days of request Deadline starts with first offered debriefing date –Competitive proposals FAR 15 acquisitions Not required for FAR 8.4 FSS procurements IDIQ task order >$10 Million ??? If debriefing not required, must file and agency receive notice within 10 days of contract award to impose stay

11 CICA Stay Rules (cont.) Stay overrides –Agency may override contract suspension if the head of the contracting activity finds: Contract performance will be in the best interest of the U.S.; or Urgent and compelling circumstances that significantly affect the interest of the U.S. will not permit waiting for GAO’s decision –Agency decision to override stay may be challenged at COFC; GAO does not consider such challenges

12 Preparing For A Debriefing Purpose for debriefing Offeror’s goals for debriefing FAR debriefing rules Planning for debriefing

13 Preparing For A Debriefing (cont.) Purpose for debriefing –Allow offerors to better understand why their proposal was not chosen –Help offerors prepare better proposals in future –Avoid protests filed based upon inadequate information –Gain information to evaluate and formulate possible protest –Counsel for offeror often does not attend

14 Preparing For A Debriefing (cont.) Goals for disappointed offeror at a debriefing –Not the time to argue for your proposal – Agency has already made its award decision –Learn as much as possible about the agency’s evaluation of your proposal and its best value decision –Debriefing statements generally are not considered admissions by GAO

15 Preparing For A Debriefing (cont.) FAR debriefing rules –Pre-award debriefings - eliminated from competitive range or excluded from competition - FAR –Post-award debriefings – FAR In person, by telephone or written Contracting Officer chairs debriefing

16 Preparing For A Debriefing (cont.) Post-award debriefings – FAR (cont.) –Debriefing includes Significant weaknesses or deficiencies Overall evaluated cost/price and technical rating of awardee and debriefed offeror Summary of rationale for award Reasonable responses to relevant questions

17 Preparing For A Debriefing (cont.) Post-award debriefings – FAR (cont.) –Debriefings do not include Point-by-point comparison of proposals Information exempt from disclosure under FOIA –Trade secrets –Manufacturing processes and techniques –Commercial and financial information –Names of past performance references

18 Preparing For A Debriefing (cont.) Planning for a debriefing –Request available documents from agency –Appoint debriefing team leader to guide discussion –Enlist key members of proposal team –Review proposal –Consider evaluation findings and ratings

19 Preparing For A Debriefing (cont.) Planning for a debriefing (cont.) –Perform appropriate price/cost calculations –Compare identified weaknesses and deficiencies with discussion topics –Develop series of questions, especially about the evaluation of your proposal –Review goals of debriefing –Be professional and courteous

20 Protective Orders (“PO”) Purpose of PO – allows procuring agency to disclose proposals, evaluation documents, source selection decisions and other competition sensitive information to representatives of parties admitted under PO GAO issues PO for virtually all protests GAO uses standard 3 page, 9 paragraph PO GAO has 45 page PO Guide on website

21 Protective Orders (“PO”) (cont.) Individuals must submit applications to be admitted under PO and other parties may object PO defines what is protected material Limits access to protected material to GAO, agency personnel and people admitted under PO Establishes procedure for creating redacted versions of documents

22 Protective Orders (“PO”) (cont.) Requires protected material to be safeguarded Allows electronic mail and facsimiles to be used to send protected documents Requires disposal of protected material within 60 days after protest is concluded Permits imposition of sanctions for violation –Dismissal of protest –Referral to bar association –Restrict practice at GAO

23 Protective Orders (“PO”) (cont.) Who can be admitted –Not involved in competitive decision-making –Not participate or advice where use of protected material could provide competitive advantage Marketing or advertising strategies Product research and development or design Competitive structuring and composition of proposal –Outside Counsel –In-House Counsel –Consultant

24 Frequently Successful Protest Grounds Unreasonable Technical Evaluation Failure to evaluate in accordance with solicitation’s terms and evaluation criteria –Weighting of evaluation factors –Unannounced evaluation factor –Relaxation of solicitation requirement –Page limits and other instructions Irrational Past Performance Evaluations –Relevance –Information too close at hand

25 Frequently Successful Protest Grounds (cont.) Sole source contracts Cost realism Price reasonableness and realism Organizational Conflicts of Interest –Unequal access to information –Biased ground rules –Impaired objectivity –Subsidiaries, affiliates and subcontractors –Proposed DFARS OCI provisions

26 Frequently Successful Protest Grounds (cont.) Flawed discussions –Lack of meaningful discussions –Misleading discussions –Unequal discussions Disparate treatment of offerors Best value determination –Unreasonable trade-off –Failure to document rationale –Based on inaccurate findings

27 Corrective Actions Either in response to protest or GAO decision Agencies took more than 800 corrective actions in FY 2009, 45 % effectiveness rate Agencies have broad discretion to fashion corrective action needed to continue acquisition –Can be limited to address problem Limit on proposal revisions Limit re-evaluation –Can be broader than protest issue

28 Corrective Actions (cont.) Protest of corrective action must be timely If discussions are re-opened or proposal revisions allowed –Unequal disclosure of competitive information Awardee’s name and price disclosed Often no meaningful remedy –Awkward for initial awardee to protest proposed corrective action Can protest new award decision

29 Supporting Your Protest Legal Team Understand the basics of bid protests –Timeliness and stay rules –Debriefings –Possible protest grounds Identify acquisition as candidate for possible protest as soon as possible Maximize lawyers time to work Explain your product and business to lawyers

30 Supporting Your Protest Legal Team (cont.) Provide key documents –Solicitation –Proposal –Communications with agency –Award notice –Debriefing materials

31 Supporting Your Protest Legal Team (cont.) Make appropriate company personnel available to answer questions Explain all concerns about conduct of acquisition Prepare factual rebuttals, citing proposal Help identify consultants

32 Questions?

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