I checked previously asked questions and found a 2010 response where the question asked was "while utilizing LPTA source selection procedures, can you only evaluate the lowest priced proposal first and if that offeror is technically acceptable, can an award be made to that offeror without further evaluation of other proposals and your answer was no and you provided several references as to why not. I need to ensure that this answer is still current.
Also, FAR 15.304(c) (3) states that past performance shall be evaluated in all source selections for negotiated competitive acquisitions expected to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. When utilizing LPTA source selection award procedures, can past performance be used only as determination of responsibility and not used as a evaluation factor or subfactor?
Yes, the info in the response from 2010 is still current, but it does not answer your question. The areas of FAR Part 15 that the 2010 response is addressing concerns competitive range. There are no stipulations in FAR Part 15 that allows you to limit the number of evaluations under LPTA, likewise there are no stipulations (outside of competitive range) that says you cannot. Here’s the key. FAR 1.102(d) allows you to make sound business decisions for those situations not specifically spelled out in the FAR. I understand why you would not want to evaluate the other proposals. I personally agree with you that it may not be the best use of Government resources to evaluate all the additional proposals for many LPTA awards. If you choose this route, you are eliminating the ability to hold discussions. If you want to leave the ability to hold discussions on the table, then you will need to determine competitive range, which put you back into evaluating ALL proposals. This is very important… If you intend on not evaluating ALL proposals, make sure you include provision 52.215-1 in the solicitation. (f)(4) of this provision informs the offerors that you “do not intend to hold discussions.” Make sure that you rule out using FAR Part 14- Sealed Bidding as required by the FAR. You should not use FAR Part 15 if b fits for you acquisition.
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Under FAR Part 15, you have the option as to whether you are going to evaluate past performance under LPTA, but the reason not to must be documented. If you read FAR 15.304(c)(3) “again”, you’ll see that you missed some key language. Immediately before your above statement b says “Except as set forth in paragraph (c)(3)(iii) of this section.” This means that there is an exception to your statement in b15.304(c)(3)(iii) says “Past performance need not be evaluated if the contracting officer documents the reason past performance is not an appropriate evaluation factor for the acquisition.”
As far as just using past performance to determine responsibility, the answer is maybe. FAR 15.305(a)(2)(i) states that “This comparative assessment of past performance information is separate from the responsibility determination required under Subpart 9.1.” Under Subpart 9.1 there are certain past performance standards that must be met to determine contractor responsibility. This is different than evaluating past performance as a factor or a subfactor under FAR Part 15 LPTA procedures. Therefore, if there has been a documented determination by the Contracting Officer not evaluate past performance in accordance with 1515.304(c)(3)(iii) as an evaluation factor, you would only be using it to determine responsibility under Subpart 9.1.