While there is a perception in the Government that Protests are bad or a waste of time, protests are a two way street, and timely protests can provide real value to the Government. A Protest can identify correctable errors in a Federal procurement before they cost the Agency time and money, and allow the agency to either amend or resolicit their procurement.
Time is Critical! Protests have strict timing provisions at the Agency or GAO. While the Court of Federal Claims is more relaxed, the Contractor should not sleep on their rights.
First and foremost, after learning they did not win the award contractors should always immediately request a debriefing in a negotiated procurement. Debriefings are great learning tools for contractors if they know how to use them. Debriefings are required by the FAR for negotiated procurements and are an excellent tool to assist contractors in preparing for the next proposal. This is an excellent opportunity for the contractor to discuss its proposal with a contracting officer and understand what the Agency was looking for and how the Agency made its decision. The protesting contractor will have the opportunity see how its company fits with the needs of the Federal government.
A contractor has three forums to protest an Agency solicitation or award decision: first with the agency issuing the solicitation and award, second with the General Accountability Office, and third, with the Court of Federal Claims. When the contractor is protesting a defect in the solicitation, they must protest prior to submitting a proposal. When the contractor is protesting the award of the solicitation, then the protest is after award.
The time for filing both pre-award and post-award bid protests is very limited. You should act quickly if you are considering filing a bid protest. It also is advisable to consult with experienced legal counsel when filing a bid protest.
James E. Krause, P.A. can help you to evaluate your concerns and advise you regarding your right to challenge an agency action, bid improprieties, the failure to set-aside projects for 8(a), HUBZone and SDVOSBs, etc.
If you would like more information on Bid Protests, please see the article below.