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Can I File a Bid Protest Over an IDIQ Task Order?

Authored by attorney Anthony J. Mazzeo

You’ve successfully been awarded a Multiple Award contract with a Federal Agency and have earned a “seat at the table” for the forthcoming Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity Task Order competitions.  We know that those Task Order Requests for Proposals require just as much effort on your part as the initial proposal did.  In this case, after what seemed like a lengthy delay, the awards are finally announced, but you are notified that you were not selected for the contract.  What are your options?

Unlike other government contracts, there are some restrictions on the availability of a bid protest for task orders on a multiple award contract.  The Federal Acquisition Regulation specifically prohibits bid protests related to task orders or delivery order contracts except in certain cases.

A protest of an individual task order is only authorized when the order “increases the scope, period, or maximum value of the contract,” or on task or delivery orders in excess of $10 million.  Protests satisfying the large dollar value threshold may only be filed with the Government Accountability Office.

For Task Orders that do not meet the $10 million criteria, the ability to file a protest is very narrow.  In most instances, the disappointed bidder’s only recourse is to contact the Agency’s Task Order and Delivery Order Ombudsman who has been appointed to review contractor complaints and ensure fairness in the competition.  This ombudsman is a senior agency official, independent from the contracting officer, and serves as the Agency’s advocate for competition.

Multiple Award IDIQ contracts have become very popular, in part because of this limited opportunity for protests, so it is very important to understand your options when unsuccessful in your bid for a task order. 

These articles are meant to bring awareness to these topics and are not intended to be used as legal advice.




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