Friday, October 4, 2019

FAR Proposal to Restrict the Use of LPTA Source Selection

The FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) have issued a proposed regulation to limit the use of LPTA (Lowest Price Technically Acceptable) source selection criteria in many circumstances. This proposal is based on provisions in the FY 2019 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), specifically, Section 880.

LPTA source selection methodologies are widely used throughout the Government and one of the easiest ways to award contracts. Some have referred to LPTA as the lazy man's guide to contracting because the Government needs only to determine whether a bid is technically acceptable. After that, the lowest price wins.

There has been a growing realization within the Government however that the use of LPTA in many cases, denies the Government the benefits of cost and technical trade-offs in the source selection process. A contractor that is able to add enhancements to its 'product' or 'service' that exceeds minimum specifications, should be given consideration for those enhancements if they would prove useful to the Government.

The proposed regulation will significantly reduce the use of LPTA source selection. In fact, the requirements for using LPTA are conditional on meeting the following requirements:

  1. An executive agency is able to comprehensively and clearly describe the minimum requirements expressed in terms of performance objectives, measures, and standards that will be used to determine acceptability of offers
  2. The executive agency would realize no, or minimal, value from a contract proposal exceeding the minimum technical or performance requirements set forth in the solicitation (good luck justifying this condition).
  3. the proposed technical approaches will require no, or minimal, subjective judgment by the source selection authority as to the desirability or one offeror's proposal versus a competing proposal.
  4. The executive agency has a high degree of confidence that a review of technical proposals of offerors other than the lowest bidder would not result in the identification of factors that could provide value or benefit to the executive agency.
  5. The contracting officer has included a justification for the use of an LPTA evaluation methodology in the contract file; and
  6. The executive agency has determined that the lowest price reflects total costs, including for operations and support.

Additionally, section 880 requires that the use of LPTA source selection criteria be avoided, to the maximum extent practicable, in procurements that are predominantly for the acquisition of:

  • information technology services,
  • cyber-security services,
  • systems engineering and technical assistance services,
  • advanced electronic testing,
  • audit or audit readiness services,
  • health care services and records,
  • telecommunications devices and services, or
  • other knowledge-based professional services.

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