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FAR 15.101 describes how agencies can use different source selection approaches (or their combinations) to obtain best value. FAR 15.101-1 then describes the tradeoff process and 15.101-2 describes LPTA. The DoD Source Selection Procedures (which I personally find very confusing) describe VATEP (which I also find very confusing). My question is: Are there any other named/identified source selection procedures? (not including hybrids of ones already mentioned). Someone at work mentioned Highest Technical Rating at a Fair and Reasonable Price? Is that a viable approach where I work (Army)? It actually sounds closer to what our customers need than the others as they need highly experienced and specialized technical support people. thanks!
VATEP is a new method of acquisition that the DoD announced in April 2016. VATEP, which stands for Value Adjusted Total Evaluated Price, is a variant on best value procurements, and seeks to quantify technical superiority in dollar terms when there is a cost/technical tradeoff. It should, in theory, make it easier for the contractor to understand how much it will be rewarded for offering a technically superior proposal. It should also make it easier for the Government to evaluate such proposals. Read the full article at Petrillo & Powell's Patterns of Procurement to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of competing for VATEP procurements.
Nash & Cibinic in February talked about combining source selection procedures. In the recent case linked here, K-MAR B-411262, the Air Force's approach to best value is interesting. One the one hand the AF told offerors that past performance, evaluated qualitatively not pass/fail, is significantly more important than price. On the other other hand the AF essentially stated it would rank-order proposals by price and then evaluate past performance of only the lowest priced proposal and if that offeror was rated substantial confidence for past performance then the evaluation process would stop. The Air Force did just that and K-MAR protested because its proposal and its past performance wasn't considered. Protest denied. In a footnote the GAO notes that K-MAR failed to protest the RFP's evaluation scheme prior to the deadline for proposals. What if K-MAR had timely protested the RFP's best value evaluation process, do you think the GAO would have sustained that protest? Is it wise to use this AF approach that past performance is more important than price but then not consider other offerors' past performance? http://www.gao.gov/products/B-411262,B-411262.2#_ftnref5
QUESTION: Can an agency just make award to the highest-rated, highest-priced proposal without explaining the "tradeoff"? I saw a recent GAO decision that makes me wonder about this. In Green Earthworks Construction, Inc., B-410724 et al., Feb. 2, 2015, the Air Force issued a solicitation for abatement services for hazardous materials. Here is the link to the GAO decision: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668348.pdf The RFP stated that there were only TWO EVALUATION FACTORS: PAST PERFORMANCE and PRICE. Although it did not use the phrase "Performance Price Tradeoff (PPT)," it appears that this was some variation on PPT. The proposals would be ranked from low to high for price. Price analysis would only be conducted on the "lowest-priced proposals." Next, the agency would evaluate for Past Performance. If the lowest-priced proposal also received a "Substantial Confidence" PP rating, then award would be made to that offeror, Otherwise, the PP assessment would continue, beginning with the next lowest-priced proposal, until an offeror with a substantial confidence rating was identified. If that didn't work out, then the SSA was to determine whether additional higher-priced groups of proposals should be considered and to then conduct a "best-value tradeoff." Green Earthworks challenged the source selection decision. GAO denied that challenge, finding that the awardee, All Phase, merited award under the stated terms of the solicitation: All Phase was the only proposal among the lowest-priced group that received a substantial confidence rating: Offeror A, Somewhat Relevant/Satisfactory PP, $2,450,362.00 Green Earthworks (Protester), Somewhat Relevant/Limited confidence PP, $2,487,585.86 All Phase (Awardee), Very Relevant/Substantial Confidence PP, $2,917,515.93 It appears that GAO is saying, no tradeoff was necessary because the RFP said that award would go to the proposal with Substantial Confidence. GAO wrote, "Additionally, to the extent the SSA made a tradeoff decision, we find the source selection decision here to be reasonable." Then GAO goes on to cite FAR 15.308 ("Source selection decisions must be documented, and include the rationale and any business judgments and tradeoffs made or relied upon by the SSA"). However, if you search for the RFP No. FA4620-14-R-B002, it actually shows the RFP was not done under FAR 15, but rather, it was a FAR Part 13 Simplified Acquisition. Link to the solicitation on FBO: https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=cdce9fdbdd905d584d9fee2ea7911ba1&tab=core&_cview=1