11/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/12/2019 16:19
Federal News Network has quoted Akin Gump government contracts partner Angela Styles in the article 'Bid protests, suspension and debarments continue to drop, but for how long?' regarding recent declines in the number of contractor protests and vendor suspensions and debarments. The information is included in new reports issued last week by the Government Accountability Office and the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee.
The article first reports that, while the number of suspensions, proposed debarments and debarments dropped for a fourth straight year in fiscal 2018, that trend may be coming to an end. There has been a continued increase of pre-notice letters, which have almost tripled in use over the last decade, underscoring the fact that government agencies are giving vendors a better chance to explain any concerns when doing business them.
Styles, a former administrator at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said the goal is not to keep companies from doing business, but for them to do it in an ethical way.
'Pre-notice letters help agencies to be more proactive versus suspension and debarment, which is really punishing companies,' Styles said. 'It also makes for better outcomes because the agency can be more comfortable with how the company is doing business with the government.'
With regard to bid protests, the article says there is little agreement as to why those numbers have moved the way they have. Styles said she would be surprised if the protest limit on bids-which prevents unsuccessful bidders from protesting anything under $10 million-is driving agency acquisition strategies.