Assignment 7 – Assignment Example
1- What is a protest in public procurement? You can use the definition from the article and/or from other sources. In terms of what defines a bid protest, Zeigler notes that bid protests are: “Administrative in nature, serve as an alternative to litigation, are the most common appeal mechanism in public procurement, and serve as a mechanisms to ensure checks and balances” (Zeigler 1). Ultimately, these are situations in which the bidder for a particular project, service, or material order, is unsatisfied with the result of the bid process and files a complaint or inquiry into why they were not selected for the project. The underlying reason for this bid protest being of importance is the fact that regardless of the size of the public entity, responding to these requires time, attention, and significant resources to accomplish. As such, Zeigler promotes the understanding that the best way to deal with potential protests is to seek to reduce them in the initial bid process. Yet, in the eventuality that this cannot be performed, Zeigler also denotes ways in which these protests can be dealt with once they have been filed.
2- Name at least two recommendations that can help avoid protests. Which one do you feel would be particularly useful? Why?
One of the most effective recommendations that Zeigler makes with regard to reducing the likelihood of bid protests is with regard to ensuring that bidders are made aware of their status once the contract has been awarded. Beyond this, Zeigler also promotes the understanding that the bidder should be aware of the reason(s) for why they failed to win the bid in the first place. By providing the bidder with such relevant information in a timely manner, the public entity can ensure that more and more bidders will be aware of why they were not able to achieve a given project and perhaps leverage this information to submit a more competitive bid in the next iteration; should there be one.
Another effective recommendation that Zeigler puts forward is with regard to holding a “pre-bid conference”. Within this particular construct, Zeigler puts forward the understand that such a conference could allow for would-be bidders to understand what requirements they must meet and all documentation they must submit. Accordingly, if a bidder is aware of the fact that they did not complete a given form, submit it, or complete it on time, then the likelihood of them escalating their frustration to a bid protest will be diminished; as they are aware of the fact that the responsibility for their failure to achieve a given project was at least partially their own fault.
3- Is ignoring the concerns raised by a bidder a viable strategy to avoid protests? Please explain why or why not.
Ignoring the concerns raised by a bidder is never a viable strategy to avoid protest. If the bidder believes that the public entity or procurement office is simply stonewalling them, they will feel as if their complaint is more legitimate and requires the adjudication of a third party as a means of ameliorating. As such, engaging with the bidders, both those that have successfully been awarded work/projects/contracts and those that have not is an essential component to ensuring that the workflow proceeds according to plan and the overall resources of the entity are not leveraged unnecessarily to deal with bid protests that could have otherwise been diffused by simply answering questions and being polite to the bidders.
4- What is the purpose of the “bid protest scheme”?
Ultimately, the entire purpose behind the bid protest scheme is to engender trust within the bidders and provide a level of transparency, ethics, and fairness in a process that would otherwise take place behind closed doors. By providing stakeholders with an apparatus through which they can make inquiry and dispute the status of a bid, the entire procedure is made more honest. Although it is seldom the case that a bid is awarded unlawfully or unfairly, the sheer fact that such an apparatus to dispute a bid exists in the first place gives public employees pause with regard to ever considering awarding a contract to a bidder that would otherwise not deserve it. The checks and balances of local, state, and federal governance can then be applied to ensure that the company or individual that disputes the bid process can then have a useful and effective means of gaining understanding concerning their questions prior to proceeding on to any type of litigation.
Zeigler, Zach. "Preventing Protests | Government Procurement content from American City & County." American City & County | Home. N.p., 1 May 2006. Web. 27 May 2014.