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Can someone explain how this recent GAO ruling attached below allowed for a cost/technical tradeoff on a Lowest Priced, Technically Acceptable (LPTA) source selection when FAR 15.101-2( B )(2) prohibits tradeoffs under LPTA? (Page 4). Why would you tie confidence levels to Acceptability? In my mind, you are either acceptable or not acceptable and if you are considered acceptable, then you should go to the lowest price. But, in this case they didn't award to the LPTA. It seems to me they did a hybrid between LPTA and Tradeoffs based on confidence levels. How did this process not violate 15.101-2( B )(2)?

http://www.gao.gov/a.../650/649636.pdf

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Why do you think a hybrid between LPTA and tradeoff processes "violates" anything? It's not a true LPTA, so 15.101-2(B)(2) doesn't govern. Are you suggesting that the hybrid approach described and executed in this case is prohibited?

The closest I can find to a violation relates to FAR 15.305(a)(2)(iv), wherein offerors without a record of relevant past performance or for whom information on past performance is not available may not be evaluated unfavorably on past performance. One might argue that a scheme contemplating any past performance rating below "substantial confidence," (including, strangely, "satisfactory confidence,") to be considered unfavorably violates 15.305(a)(2)(iv).

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Thanks for your response. I've just never seen a hybrid approach between LPTA and Tradeoff where some factors of the evaluation are Acceptable/Unacceptable based on LPTA and other factors in the same solicitaion are another evaluation scheme (i.e, in this case, varying confidence levels for past performance) and you end up possibly having to do a "tradeoff" in order to get to the LPTA. I also, think your comment about violating 15.305(a)(2)(iv) is a good point.

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Guest Vern Edwards

See FAR 15.101:

An agency can obtain best value in negotiated acquisitions by using any one or a combination of source selection approaches.

Thus, combined tradeoff process/LPTA source selections are expressly permitted. The rule has been the same since October 10, 1997.

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In addition to what Vern said, the RFP didn't violate FAR 15.305 (a)(2)(iv). In addition to Vern's point, the protestor didn't have a record of past performance. Plus, there have been numerous CG decisions which allow the government to consider the added value of a higher rated past performance of another proposal. I don't think the RFP said that the award wouldn't necessarily go to the lowest priced tech acceptable offer, just that there would have to be a trade-off in the event that the LPTA offer didn't rate as "Substantial confidence".

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