A bid protest is a legal procedure, usually initiated by an “interested party” to contest the procedure or outcome of a government contract award. Typically, protesters are third parties (usually other bidders) who feel they’ve been harmed by a government agency’s decision to award a contract to a party who the protester feels is non-deserving.
Bid protests occur at every level of government, federal, state and local. The rules that govern bid protest procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, there are some rules that are generally the same regardless of where the bid protest arises.
- The solicitation document (RFP, RFQ or ITB) will generally inform bidders of the bid protest procedures.
- There may be statutes, administrative rules and other documents that govern bid protest procedures.
- Bid protests can be resolved through formal as well as informal procedures.
- The time frame for bringing a protest varies! The time frame can be as little as 3 days.
- The time frame for bringing a protest based on the terms of the solicitation may have a different time requirements from a bid protest based on proposed award.
Selecting the best forum is critical to prevailing on a protest. At the federal level there are several venues for bid protests. Protests can be brought to the agency that issued the solicitation (Agency-Level Protest), the GAO, the Court of Federal Claims or through the U.S. District Courts.
At the state and local level, the rules differ. In some instances, the protest may be brought before the entity that issued the solicitation. In some cases, the state, county or municipal government will have another entity that handles administrative hearings and appeals hear the bid protest.
The rules for bid protests vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction. Whether you are the subject of a bid protest or you believe you have grounds to initiate a bid protest, it’s important that you contact someone who understands the process. At DBE Direct, we have experience representing parties involved in bid protests. We can help you defend a bid protest and keep a contract you’ve won or initiate a bid protest to win a contract you thought you lost.
For help with your Florida DBE Certification application you can contact us at (305) 755-9551.