A protective order prohibits disclosure of sensitive information during a protest. A protective order may be issued by GAO at the request of a protester and allows attorneys admitted to the order to review sensitive information, such as proposals and agency evaluation documents. Only attorneys who are not engaged in "competitive decision making" for a party are eligible for admission to a protective order. Attorneys admitted to a protective order may not disclose protected information to their clients (the protester or intervenor ) and must reach agreement with attorneys for the opposing parties and GAO before protected information is released to the public. The protective order process allows attorneys to argue a protest on behalf of a protester or intervenor, without the disclosure of sensitive information. For more information, see our Bid Protest Regulations (4 C.F.R. § 21.4) and Guide to Protective Orders.
Each protest is assigned a unique six-digit "B-number". A protest is identified as, for example, "Protester Name, B-123456." If related protests are filed, the protests are identified as "Protester Name, B-123456.2, Protester Name, B-123456.3", etc.
You may search our bid protest docket by B - number, protester name, agency name, and solicitation number. The docket provides information concerning the filing date, decision deadline, the GAO attorney assigned to the protest, and the current status of the protest. When a decision is publicly available, a link to that decision is included in the docket search results.
We do not release documents while a protest is pending. After a protest is decided, you may request access to information, including redacted protests. You can request this information through our Freedom of Information Act process.
If the protest is not dismissed for procedural reasons, the agency must, within 30 days of the filing of a protest, provide a report addressing the protest arguments. The protester must file comments responding to the agency report within 10 days of receiving the report (failure to file comments will result in dismissal of the protest). After the comment period, GAO may request additional filings from the parties, conduct alternative dispute resolution, or hold a hearing. For more information, see our Bid Protest Regulations (4 C.F.R. § 21.3) and Bid Protests at GAO: a Descriptive Guide, and this timeline of a bid protest.
Corrective action is an agency’s voluntary decision to address an issue in response to a protest. Corrective action can occur at any time during a protest. An agency’s corrective action may involve a re-evaluation of proposals, a new award decision, an amendment to a solicitation, or other actions. We will typically dismiss a protest if an agency takes corrective action that resolves protest arguments or provides the relief sought by the protester.
A protest is concluded when it is "withdrawn" by the protester, "dismissed" by GAO because the protest had a technical or procedural flaw (such as lack of timeliness or jurisdiction) or because the agency takes corrective action that addresses the protest, "denied" by GAO because we found no merit to the protest, or "sustained" by GAO because we agree with the protest arguments.
If we agree with a protester that the agency violated a procurement law or regulation in a prejudicial manner, we will issue a decision sustaining the protest and recommend that the agency address the violation through appropriate corrective action. The agency must then advise us whether it will comply with the recommendation.
We must decide a protest within 100 calendar days. We always seek to issue a decision as far in advance of the 100-day deadline as possible.
We provide an annual report to Congress regarding the numbers of protests filed and the results of those protests. See our Bid Protest Annual Reports.