DATE: December 31, 2002

SUBJECT: General Accounting Office (GAO); Revision of Protest Regulations

SOURCE: Federal Register, December 31, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 251, page 79833

AGENCIES: General Accounting Office (GAO)

ACTION: Final Rule

SYNOPSIS: GAO is adopting as final, with changes, the October 1, 2002, proposed revisions to its bid protest regulations to conform to current practice and to improve their overall efficiency and effectiveness.

EDITOR'S NOTE: GAO's protest regulations, which are in Title 4 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 21, govern offeror protests filed with the GAO against alleged improprieties in the government's conduct of acquisitions (GAO's 1996 protest regulations are available at http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/og96024.htm). Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 33.104, Protests to the GAO, provides an overview of the protest process and procedures. However, if there is a conflict between GAO's regulations and the FAR, GAO's regulations govern.

For more on the proposed rule, see the October 1, 2002, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "General Accounting Office; Review and Revision of Protest Regulations."

For more on the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), see the February 25, 2002, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "General Accounting Office; Review and Revision of Protest Regulations."

EFFECTIVE DATE: This final rule applies to protests on or after January 1, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John M. Melody (Assistant General Counsel) or David A. Ashen (Deputy Assistant General Counsel), at 202-512-9732.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: GAO last revised its protest regulations in 1996. Since then, there have been legal developments and changes in practice: alternative dispute resolution has grown in use, electronic filing has become a reality, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Court of Federal Claims have issued significant decisions regarding review of affirmative responsibility determinations. On February 25, 2002, GAO published an ANPR requesting comments on these topics and suggestions for changes to other areas of the regulations. Based on comments submitted in response to the ANPR, GAO published a proposed rule on October 1, 2002. The most significant changes proposed were:

GAO received comments from three federal agencies, two law firms, and a bar association. In response to several of the comments, GAO will include clarification or elaboration in "Bid Protests at GAO: A Descriptive Guide." Other comments convinced GAO to make two changes to the final version of the regulations:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2002 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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