The first half of 2018 has seen several significant policy changes for federal contractors, from a huge change to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s bid protest system, to the U.S. Department of Justice making significant adjustments to how it will handle some False Claims Act cases.
The GAO Makes Its Bid Protest Filing System Electronic
On May 1, on the back of a related final rule, the GAO made several changes to its bid protest system, for instance tweaking timeliness rules to make filing deadlines clearer and codifying precedent holding that it can hear protests alleging that a non-procurement instrument is being improperly used for procurement, as well as requiring notification when agencies override the automatic stay on a contract that is normally imposed by a protest being filed.
“It appears that they’re basically mirroring through the EPDS what you see in a regular federal court system — my experience is that it’s been a more streamlined process and easier to deal with,” McCarter & English LLP government contracts practice group co-leader Franklin Turner said.
Advisory Panel Wants Big Changes to DOD Contracting
While many of its proposed changes are still advisory — although some suggestions have been rolled into the House version of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a bill currently being finalized by Congress — the first two report volumes issued by the Section 809 panel have generated perhaps more discussion within the defense contracting community than any other policy documents released so far this year.
“I get what the report is saying, and I agree with what the report is saying, in terms of trying to update the cost accounting standards to a degree that makes sense for modern business and modern contractors, and I recognize that by making CASB an independent organization … that it could hopefully operate a little more aggressively to address [those issues],” Turner’s fellow practice group co-leader Alexander Major said.