• R.D. Lieberman,Consultant

GAO Sustain & Effectiveness Rates Remain Relatively Stable in FY 2019

The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released its annual bid protest report to the Congress for fiscal year 2019 on November 5, 2019 (B-15866). The GAO actually received 2,198 protests in fiscal year (“FY”) 2019 but dismissed or immediately denied or dismissed a substantial number of them, while actually considering and issuing decisions on 587 protests, known as “merit decisions.” This was a small increase compared to FY 2017.

The GAO sustain rate decreased only two percent, from 17 percent in FY 2017 to 15 percent in FY 2018.

The GAO bid protest statistics for fiscal years 2015-2019 were as follows:

GAO Bid Protest Statistics for Fiscal Years 2015-2019

FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY 2019

Merit decisions 587 616 581 622 587

Sustained 68 139 99 92 77

Sustain rate 12% 23% 17% 15% 13%

Effectiveness rate 45% 46% 47% 44% 44%


Dispute Resolution

(ADR) cases 103 69 81 86 40

ADR success

rate 70% 84% 90% 77% 90%

Hearings 3% 2.5% 2% 0.5% 2%

(No. of cases) 31 27 17 5 21

The “effectiveness rate” remained about the same, about 44 percent in 2017 and in 2018. These are protests where the protester obtains some form of relief from the agency, either as a result of voluntary agency corrective action or the protest being sustained.

The percentage of cases where the GAO conducted a hearing remained small—generally only 2 to 3 percent of the cases

GAO also reported that:

· There were no instances in which a federal agency did not fully implement a GAO recommendation; and

· GAO issued its decision on every protest within 100 days, as required by law, although it did toll the deadlines because of the government shutdown between December 2018 and January 2019.

Finally, the GAO reported on the most prevalent reasons for sustaining protests that were actually resolved on the merits in FY 2017. These were:

1. Unreasonable technical evaluation

2. Inadequate documentation of the record

3. Flawed selection decision

4. Unequal treatment

5. Unreasonable cost or price evaluation

The GAO also noted that a significant number of protests it received did not reach a decision on the merits because agencies voluntarily took corrective action rather than defend the protest on the merits.

For other helpful suggestions on government contracting, visit:

Richard D. Lieberman’s FAR Consulting at https://www.richarddlieberman.com/, and Mistakes in Government Contracting at https://richarddlieberman.wixsite.com/mistakes.

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Informal Agency Protests: A Reminder

Formal agency protests must be submitted in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) 33.103, which sets out specific rules, procedures and requirements. There is a simpler way to protest

Typed Name is Acceptable for Contract Disputes Act

A recent decision of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (“Board”) held that as long as a mark (such as a typed signature) purporting to act as a signature may be traced back to the individua

Constructive Notice of Contracting Actions

“Constructive” is defined as “legally imputed; existing by virtue of legal fiction though not existing in fact.” Blacks Law Dict. (Tenth Ed. 2014). Several types of constructive actions occur in gove

The website of Richard Donald Lieberman, a government contracts consultant and retired attorney who is the author of both "The 100 Worst Mistakes in Government Contracting" (with Jason Morgan) and "The 100 Worst Government Mistakes in Government Contracting." Richard Lieberman concentrates on Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) consulting and training, including  commercial item contracting (FAR Part 12), compliance with proposal requirements (FAR Part 15 negotiated procurement), sealed bidding (FAR Part 14), compliance with solicitation requirements, contract administration (FAR Part 42), contract modifications and changes (FAR Part 43), subcontracting and flowdown requirements (FAR Part 44), government property (FAR Part 45), quality assurance (FAR Part 46), obtaining invoiced payments owed to contractors,  and other compliance with the FAR. Mr.Lieberman is also involved in numerous community service activities.  See LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-d-lieberman-3a25257a/.This website and blog are for educational and information purposes only.  Nothing posted on this website constitutes legal advice, which can only be obtained from a qualified attorney. Website Owner/Consultant does not engage in the practice of law and will not provide legal advice or legal services based on competence and standing in the law. Legal filings and other aspects of a legal practice must be performed by an appropriate attorney. Using this website does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Although the author strives to present accurate information, the information provided on this site is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date.  The views expressed on this blog are solely those of the author. FAR Consulting & Training, Bethesda, Maryland, Tel. 202-520-5780, rliebermanconsultant@gmail.com

Copyright © 2020 Richard D. Lieberman