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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Questions leave little doubt about importance of protests

In another week or so, we’ll release a new WT Insider Report on debriefings and bid protests. This morning we had a Power Breakfast that covered same topic.

We had some stellar speakers including Ralph White, managing associate general counsel at GAO; and Jerry Howe, general counsel at Leidos.

I gave a sneak peek of the upcoming Insider Report and shared some stats about our findings including the quality of debriefings and the likelihood of filing a bid protest.

But I got several questions that I hadn’t anticipated for the research survey that the report is based on.

Did we make a distinction between agency and GAO protests? No, we didn’t. Agency level protests are a bit of a mystery to me because they aren’t publicly disclosed generally. The assumption in the survey is that we asking about protests at GAO.

Were people satisfied with the results of their protest? Nope, didn’t ask that one but I sure do wish I had. That’s a great question. Protest can still be successful even if it is denied or dismissed when an agency takes a corrective action. But of course you have to define what success is.

Did we ask about differences between protests involving multiple award contracts versus single award? We didn’t but again that’s an area worth exploring further.

As part of the program I moderated a panel featuring Bob Lohfeld of Lohfeld Consulting and Yvonne Vervaet, senior vice president of business development and chief growth officer at ManTech International.

When I asked them that question as it related to debriefings, they indicated there isn’t a big difference. But Lohfeld used it as an opportunity to criticize the recent trend we’ve seen in how large task order contracts are evaluated.

The General Services Administration in particular has started using a process where bidders score themselves and providing the backing documentation to validate those scores.

Lohfeld likened it to driving a car by only looking in the rearview mirror.

GSA is making it harder for companies to submit proposals that are forward looking in their solutions and technical offerings, he said.

We’ll have other coverage of the breakfast on our site looking deeper into debriefings and bid protests and some of the trends and legal implications. And the Insider Report of course will be out soon.

But I wanted to highlight some of things people were asking. What we miss in the report doesn’t diminish it, but it does bring home to me what an important topic debriefings and bid protests are.

One thing the report illustrates and that we talked a lot about at the Power Breakfast is the poor quality of debriefings and that if debriefings improved the number of bid protests would fall.

I’ll be writing more about the Insider Report as soon as it becomes available.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 21, 2018 at 12:33 PM

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