4 CFR § 21.5 - Protest issues not for consideration.

§ 21.5 Protest issues not for consideration.

A protest or specific protest allegations may be dismissed any time sufficient information is obtained by GAO warranting dismissal. Where an entire protest is dismissed, no agency report need be filed; where specific protest allegations are dismissed, an agency report shall be filed on the remaining allegations. Among the protest bases that shall be dismissed are the following:

(a) Contract administration. The administration of an existing contract is within the discretion of the agency. Disputes between a contractor and the agency are resolved pursuant to the disputes clause of the contract and the Contract Disputes Act of 1978. 41 U.S.C. 7101-7109.

(b) Small Business Administration (SBA) issues. -

(1) Small business size standards and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) standards. Challenges of established size standards or the size status of particular firms, and challenges of the selected NAICS code may be reviewed solely by the SBA. 15 U.S.C. 637(b)(6).

(2) Small Business Certificate of Competency Program. Referrals made to the SBA pursuant to sec. 8(b)(7) of the Small Business Act, or the issuance of, or refusal to issue, a certificate of competency under that section will generally not be reviewed by GAO. The exceptions, which GAO will interpret narrowly out of deference to the role of the SBA in this area, are protests that show possible bad faith on the part of government officials, or that present allegations that the SBA failed to follow its own published regulations or failed to consider vital information bearing on the firm's responsibility due to the manner in which the information was presented to or withheld from the SBA by the procuring agency. 15 U.S.C. 637(b)(7).

(3) Procurements under sec. 8(a) of the Small Business Act. Under that section, since contracts are entered into with the SBA at the contracting officer's discretion and on such terms as are agreed upon by the procuring agency and the SBA, the decision to place or not to place a procurement under the 8(a) program is not subject to review absent a showing of possible bad faith on the part of government officials or that regulations may have been violated. 15 U.S.C. 637(a).

(c) Affirmative determination of responsibility by the contracting officer. Because the determination that a bidder or offeror is capable of performing a contract is largely committed to the contracting officer's discretion, GAO will generally not consider a protest challenging such a determination. The exceptions are protests that allege that definitive responsibility criteria in the solicitation were not met and those that identify evidence raising serious concerns that, in reaching a particular responsibility determination, the contracting officer unreasonably failed to consider available relevant information or otherwise violated statute or regulation.

(d) Procurement integrity. For any Federal procurement, GAO will not review an alleged violation of subsections (a), (b), (c), or (d) of sec. 27 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act, 41 U.S.C. 2101-2107, as amended by sec. 4304 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, Public Law 104-106, 110 Stat. 186, February 10, 1996, where the protester failed to report the information it believed constituted evidence of the offense to the Federal agency responsible for the procurement within 14 days after the protester first discovered the possible violation.

(e) Protests not filed either with GAO or the agency within the time limits set forth in § 21.2.

(f) Protests that lack a detailed statement of the legal and factual grounds of protest as required by § 21.1(c)(4), or that fail to clearly state legally sufficient grounds of protest as required by § 21.1(f).

(g) Procurements by agencies other than Federal agencies as defined by sec. 3 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, 40 U.S.C. 102. Protests of procurements or proposed procurements by agencies such as the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and nonappropriated fund activities are beyond GAO's bid protest jurisdiction as established in 31 U.S.C. 3551-3556.

(h) Subcontract protests. GAO will not consider a protest of the award or proposed award of a subcontract except where the agency awarding the prime contract has filed a request that subcontract protests be decided pursuant to § 21.13.

(i) Suspensions and debarments. Challenges to the suspension or debarment of contractors will not be reviewed by GAO. Such matters are for review by the agency in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

(j) Competitive range. GAO will not consider protests asserting that the protester's proposal should not have been included or kept in the competitive range.

(k) Decision whether or not to file a protest on behalf of Federal employees. GAO will not review the decision of an agency tender official to file a protest or not to file a protest in connection with a public-private competition.

(l) Protests of orders issued under task or delivery order contracts. As established in 10 U.S.C. 2304c(e) and 41 U.S.C. 4106(f), GAO does not have jurisdiction to review protests in connection with the issuance or proposed issuance of a task or delivery order except for the circumstances set forth in those statutory provisions.

(m) Protests of awards, or solicitations for awards, of agreements other than procurement contracts. GAO generally does not review protests of awards, or solicitations for awards, of agreements other than procurement contracts, with the exception of awards or agreements as described in § 21.13; GAO does, however, review protests alleging that an agency is improperly using a non-procurement instrument to procure goods or services.

[61 FR 39042, July 26, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 79835, Dec. 31, 2002; 70 FR 19681, Apr. 14, 2005; 73 FR 32430, June 9, 2008; 83 FR 13824, Apr. 2, 2018]