The lowest cost technically acceptable source selection process (LPTA) is commonly used by government contracting agencies when best value is expected to result from selection of the technically acceptable proposal with the lowest evaluated price.
Many solicitations are now advertised as using the lowest cost technically acceptable source selection process. Agencies are using this method because they are somewhat difficult to challenge at the bid protest level. However, contracting agencies do make mistakes during source selection. A well thought-out bid protest analysis that is supported by facts in the record can lead to a winning protest.
- Although Agencies have broad discretion when reviewing source selection criteria to determine whether your proposal is technically acceptable, there are still reputable ways to challenge the award decision.
When it comes to challenging a lowest price technically acceptable source selection process at GAO the best way to challenge your competition’s award in a bid protest is to show that the Agency overlooked a material aspect of the awardee’s proposal but still allowed it to pass as technically acceptable.
- A commonly overlooked requirement can be embedded in contract clauses.
- The Performance Work Statement is not the only source of a material requirement.
Tips for Proactive Bidders: If the solicitation dictates that the award will be made by using a lowest cost technically acceptable source selection process, consider the following when developing your response to the solicitation:
- Make sure that your pricing proposal is low enough but more to create unusual risks: many government contractors overlook the impact of an LPTA evaluation.
- Although, you can provide the best possible technical proposal, many awards lose out simply because no real attention is paid to proposing the lowest possible price.
In the alternative, some bidders lose sight of the importance of a strong technical proposal. Detail is still important because even if your price is low, the agency will not even get to consider your price if your technical bid is unacceptable. See more information about government contract pricing.
- Keep in mind that you should get a post award debriefing within the required deadlines
- Simply attacking the awardee’s extremely low price will not get you the result you are looking for.
- Find out more about SBA Certificate of Competency rules.
No Trade-offs Allowed In Lowest Cost Technically Acceptable Source Selection Process
The LPTA source selection process does not allow for trade-offs. As compared to a negotiated procurement under FAR 15, non-price factors are generally not rated.
- If you allege only best value and trade-off errors in your bid protest, the Agency will seek dismissal of your case.
- The strength in your protest should focus on the technical evaluation.
Limited Best Value Assessment is Allowed:
To say that the lowest cost technically acceptable source selection process completely disallows any type of best value analysis is not completely accurate. The agency should at least look at a lower-priced proposal to see if there are risks of the whether the offeror understands the solicitation requirements. See additional information about technical evaluation criteria.
Instead, the source selection panel, after making a determination that your proposal is acceptable may simply rush to the substantially low price and make the award without any further assessment of your understanding of the requirements.
- The real difference is in LPTA source evaluation criteria is that there is limited best value analysis. To say that there is no evaluation to make sure that the bidder understands the requirement should not be allowed by the courts.
Agencies should not be allowed to simply overlook an offeror’s questionable lower price and grant the award. This would raise a serious concern with spending taxpayer dollars and turning a blind eye to a situation where there is high risk of performance.
For more information or help with the lowest price technically acceptable source selection process challenges, call our bid protest lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.