(a) A Customer and Supplier Advocate shall be established in the department as a resource to state agencies and departments, and suppliers seeking information regarding the state process, procedures, and regulations for bidding on state contracts, and as a resource to bidders seeking to file a protest on award in accordance with this chapter. The advocate shall, at a minimum, provide the following services to the protesting bidder:
(1) Assistance to customer departments and agencies regarding contracting rules and regulations, and acquisition resource options.
(2) Assistance to the bidder in assessing the validity of the bidder’s proposed grounds of filing the protest in accordance with the terms of the solicitation, as well as statutory or regulatory guidelines governing the solicitation in question.
(3) Provision of information to the protesting bidder regarding avenues and options available to the bidder to proceed with a formal protest of the award.
(b) The advocate shall make services, as specified in this section, available on a timely basis to the protesting bidder.
(c) Notification to bidders regarding the availability of services by the advocate shall be included in the solicitation. This notification shall also outline procedures and timelines for bidders who may wish to engage the services of the advocate.