Protests Up & Sustains Down – A Brief Review Of GAO’s FY 2014 Bid Protest Stats

Following up on our last article about Protest Statistics, this article delves deeper into the numbers reported by the GAO which show a decrease each year in the number of sustained protests.

Article by Derek R. Mullins
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

On November 18, 2014, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) published its Annual Report to Congress (B-158766, November 18, 2014), which contains the statistics for bid protests filed at GAO in FY 2014. Frankly, it’s a mixed bag – protests are up, sustained protests are down, but the overall “effectiveness rate” (where the agency grants some type of remedy or corrective action for a protestor) remains flat. Because there are many who think that the bid protest process is broken, it might be worth a closer look at some of the statistics to see if bid protests are being abused (as some in Government might claim) or if the process is working.

Here are the statistics taken from the report (along with those for FYs 2010-2013)

PROTEST STATISTICS FY 2014 FY 2013 FY 2012 FY 2011 FY 2010
Cases Filed 2,561 2,429 2,475 2,353 2,299
(up 5%) (down 2%) (up 5%) (up 2%) (up 16%)
Cases Closed 2,458 2,538 2,495 2,292 2,226
Merit (Sustain + Deny) Decisions 556 509 570 417 441
Number of Sustains 72 87 106 67 82
Sustain Rate 13% 17% 18.60% 16% 19%

Read the full article with additional statistics here.