The General Services Administration is driving what it hopes to be a final nail in the LPTA coffin.
As one of three major acquisition policy changes GSA is seeking over the next year, the proposal would remove language in the schedules program that many blame for why agencies use lowest price, technically acceptable (LPTA) still too often.
Jeff Koses, GSA’s senior procurement executive, said the legislative change would bring clarity to the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984.
“Over the last 40 years, we’ve moved to a best value mindset. Acquisition is not about trying to buy the lowest priced item,” Koses said in an interview with Federal News Network after speaking at the Coalition for Government Procurement’s fall conference. “The problem with the standard in that language calling for the lowest cost alternative is it gets confused with lowest price, technically acceptable. We think if we replace that language with best value, it’s clear, it’s easier to train, it’s easier to explain, and, more important, it’s consistent with the direction Congress has given and consistent with what we’re trying to do with the acquisition system.”
The update to CICA is one of three legislative proposals GSA submitted to Congress. Another one would enable GSA to increase the percentage from fees collected through the schedules program and other governmentwide contracts that would go to the acquisition workforce training fund. The third request to Congress is not new this year, but one GSA has suggested before. It wants to amend the fiscal 2020 Defense authorization bill, which included the Fair Chance Act, commonly referred to as “Ban the Box,” to transfer the complaint procedures assigned to GSA and the Department of Defense to the Department of Labor.
At the same time, GSA also issued a proposed rule yesterday that would make permanent the pandemic-era changes to the Economic Price Adjustment clause.
The change to CICA aims to bring more consistency to how agencies use the schedules and reinforce that LPTA should mainly be used for non-complex product buys.