A new bill aims to reform the way agencies use "lowest-price, technically-acceptable" for their procurements.

The "Promoting Value Based Procurement Act of 2017" — sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. — would reform the Federal Acquisition Regulation to require civilian agencies to do the following when it comes to applying LPTA in contract bids:

  • Comprehensively and clearly describe the minimum requirements in terms of performance objectives, measures and standards that will be used to determine acceptability of offers
  • Establish that there is no value in a contract bid that might exceed the technical and performance requirements
  • Require that technical approaches require no subjective judgment by the source selection authority for one proposal over another
  • That the source selection authority reviewing technical proposals have "high confidence" that bids other than the lowest would not result in identifying factors that could provide value or benefit to the executive agency
  • That the contracting officer provide justification for the use of LPTA evaluation methodology in the contract file
  • The agency determining the LPTA reflects full life-cycle costs, including for operations and support

The bill also limits the LPTA use on information technology services, cybersecurity services, systems engineering and technical assistance services, advanced electronic testing, audit or audit readiness services or other knowledge-based professional services; personal protective equipment; or knowledge-based training or logistics services for overseas contingency operations.

Professional Services Council President and CEO David Berteau said in a June 23 release that the legislation seeks to shift the broad use of LPTA to a model where contracting officers looks more for best value acquisition deals.

"Enactment of this bill would help ensure that federal agencies have the flexibility necessary to seek and obtain innovative solutions, better outcomes and ultimately the best value on behalf of taxpayers," he said.

Alan Chvotkin, PSC executive vice president and counsel, also said in a June 22 letter to Meadows and Beyerthat the bill could provide more innovation, particularly in IT procurement.

"PSC understands that LPTA has a place in the acquisition toolbox and can achieve desired outcomes when appropriate," he said. "However, LPTA’s misuse can produce subpar results and increase long-term cost to the government."

Beyer sponsored similar legislation last year with the Promoting Value Based Defense Procurement Act. That bill was later incorporated into the 2017 National Defense Reauthorization Act.