Every unit of government has rules about how it purchases goods and services. As a vendor, your success in doing business with government agencies is dependent upon your knowledge of those rules.
The federal government follows the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and many federal agencies also issue FAR supplements. Similarly, each state government has its own purchasing procedures.
In the State of Georgia, the Department of Administrative Services, through its State Purchasing Division (SPD), maintains the Georgia Procurement Manual (GPM). The GPM governs how state government entities purchase needed goods and supplies. It also provides information to suppliers about how to conduct business with the State of Georgia. SPD periodically revises the GPM to incorporate legislative changes, new automated processes and best practices.
In May of this year, the GPM was updated in several important ways, including the supplier protest process as well as internal procedural updates, such as new automated processes for state procurement staff to submit certain reports and requests to SPD. You can see a summary of the changes here. A brief overview of the new supplier protest process follows.
What is the supplier protest process?
GPM Section 6.5 defines how suppliers may challenge certain purchasing actions by state entities, such as: solicitations, proposed sole source contracts, proposed purchases through consortia or cooperative purchasing agreements, the results of a Request for Qualified Contractors and the state’s proposed or actual award of a contract.
How has the supplier protest process changed?
SPD has updated the supplier protest process to:
- Define general principles that govern SPD’s review of supplier protests;
- Address review of a supplier’s protest that a system error prevented timely submission of an electronic bid or proposal;
- Identify certain procurements that are exempt from SPD’s protest process;
- Define how sole source protests will be reviewed, including the option for discussions between the state entity and the protesting supplier prior to SPD issuing a protest decision;
- Require a supplier to file a protest within 10 calendar days of the date the supplier knows or should have known of the action which is being protested or the other applicable protest filing deadlines, whichever is sooner;
- Update the submission process to remove the fax number (protests may continue to be either mailed or sent via email to the addresses noted in the GPM); and
- Provide other clarifications.
When are these changes effective?
Changes became effective May 18, 2018. You can listen to a recorded webinar on the changes to the Georgia Procurement Manual here: GPM changes. (Presentation begins at the 9:55 mark.)