Effective May 1, 2018, all protests, except those involving classified material, must be filed using GAO’s new Electronic Protest Docketing System or EPDS.  This is per a Final Rule issued by GAO on April 2, 2018.[1]  That rule also implements the mandatory $350 filing fee for each new protest starting May 1, 2018.  And, a protest will not be deemed filed until the filing fee is paid.  GAO also has made the following additional changes to the protest procedures:

  • NEW TIMELINESS RULE: For protests regarding solicitation improprieties that are first known after proposals are submitted, but when there is no further opportunity to revise proposals, the protest must be filed within 10 days of when the impropriety was known.  If filed after the debriefing, the protest will be untimely.  This is formalizing a timeliness rule GAO previously has outlined in prior decisions.
  • NEW DEADLINE FOR AGENCY’s 5 DAY LETTER: Where a protester requests specific documents, the agency is required to respond to those requests no later than 5 days before the agency report is due.  GAO has revised its rules to clarify that if the 5th day falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the agency’s response is due on or before the first business day immediately preceding the weekend or holiday.
  • REDACTED VERSIONS OF DOCUMENTS: GAO is revising the requirements and process for preparing and submitting redacted documents in bid protests.  A protester still is required to file a redacted version of its protest within 1 day of filing with GAO.  However, parties do not have to propose redacted versions of other documents filed at GAO, unless another party requests that one be circulated.  After a request is made, a party is required to circulate a proposed redacted version to the other parties within 2 days of the request.  Proposed redacted versions are not filed within the EPDS, but the final redacted version that is agreed on by all parties is.  That said, according to the final rule, no non-parties will have access to any of the content on the EPDS.

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding bid protests or the new GAO rules.

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[1]   A copy of that Final Rule is available at: ≪https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/04/02/2018-06413/government-accountability-office-administrative-practice-and-procedure-bid-protest-regulations≫.