Source Selection Decision Document | Source Selection Non-Cost Factor Rating Form

Are FAR “source selection” procedures and “evaluation” procedures the same concepts?  The selected acquisition procedure prescribes the fitting distinction.  FAR Part 15 prescribes the “source selection” process which includes prescribed evaluation requirements.  FAR Part 12 and “Order Contracting” procedures (8.4, 13 and 16.5) prescribe “evaluation” requirements which involve selecting sources (“source selection”).  Specifically each procedure prescribes the methodologies for designing “Acceptance” criteria:   The acquisition approach/basis for award, evaluation criteria, description of work and performance standards.

So how does the contracting professional make the distinction?

The purpose of this article is to (1) illustrate befitting and concise applications for specific terms and procedures prescribed in the FAR for both source selection and evaluation procedures and considerations and, (2) provide practical application examples to illustrate how the reader can transfer common concepts to specialized areas of knowledge.  Representatives of both the procurement and customer community possess varying levels of expertise, (e.g., entry, journeyman and expert) and so purposefully, the goal is to enhance the readers understanding of the regulated source selection/evaluation process.

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FAR Acquisition “Source Selection” AND “Evaluation” Procedures

The FAR prescribes specific “source selection” (Part 15) and “evaluation” (FAR Subparts 8.4 and 16.5 and Parts 12 and 13) procedures for the acquisition of goods and services as primary methods to obtain best value for the Government.  Specifically, a goal is to structure the Government’s requirements and objectives to provide the means for the Government to make meaningful differentiations amongst offers proposing to meet the Government’s needs.  That is, to provide best value.

The FAR Part 15 source selection process is entirely detailed and methodological and all other FAR acquisition “evaluation” (source selection activity) procedures are predicated on the fundamental concepts prescribed in FAR Part 15.   However, contracting, customer and technical community representatives in the acquisition process are still challenged to appropriately perceive and apply the articulate prescriptions of their correlating relationships.

Practical Application #1:  When an individual shops for a personal item or service, the shopper’s goal and intent is to make a purchase based on pre-determined specifications/requirements/desires (features, functions, prices/costs) of and related to their preferences and/or needs for the supply or service (e.g., apparel, electronics, motored vehicles, home decorating/repair, etc.).  The shopper “shops around” and evaluates a variety of goods and services offered for sale that would meet those specifications (non-price and price factors) and that consequently, represent the best value for their investment.  The shopper’s efforts in determining best value also include time spent in market research and the estimated longevity of the resource. 

Like the individual shopper, the Government also seeks to establish a contractual arrangement and acquire goods and services of “best value”.  Particularly, the vision for the “Federal Acquisition System” is to deliver on a timely basis the best value product or service to the customer, while maintaining the public’s trust and fulfilling public policy objectives.

THE PLAN OF ACTION

Appropriate acquisition planning is paramount endeavor to attain a best value solution.  An acquisition plan (strategy) constitutes the Government’s plan of action.  Generally, in federal acquisitions, the Government’s plan of action is progressively developed in two stages:  the user’s [technical and customer communities] acquisition plan/strategy (OMB Circular A-11 investment planning requirements to include acquisition activity planning, etc.) and both the user’s and contracting community’s acquisition plan/strategy (FAR Part 7).  Befittingly, the magnitude of sophistication required for the effort will influence the diversity of the procurement and evaluation objectives necessary to achieve best value.  FAR Subsection 15.303(b)(2); FAR part 7

Practical Application #2: For purposes of shopping, a “plan of action” is developed in many forms, e.g., mentally/conscientiously; written format/electronically; simple/casual, etc. which all depends on the need.  Using the garment example, a shopper’s plan of action may include the following elements:  (1) budget (available funds) and payment method; (2) Designer/Brand preferences; (3) online shopping preference; (4) a mixture of online and brick/and mortar options; (5) local/overseas options; (6) tailored/off-rack/mass produced preferences; (7) evaluation criteria, etc.

Regardless of the form, a plan of action is essential to steer the focus on what the buyer desires to meet the need; whether it is to acquire variety or to fulfill a special purpose.  While a number of options may be identified during the engagement of shopping, the shopper’s focus is fixed on the fundamental purpose of the plan.

BEST VALUE CONTINUUM

As per FAR, best value can be obtained in negotiated acquisitions through the application of prescribed source selection approaches: Trade-off process (TO) and the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA).  Specifically, the relative importance of cost or price and the consideration of best value is repositioned as a result of a Government need.  Risk is a significant consideration; definitive work descriptions downscale risk; undefinitized goals and requirements augment risks that attribute to unsuccessful contract performance.

One definition of a “Continuum” is “a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct.”  Specifically, a FAR “Best Value Continuuminvolves the two adjacent elements: price/cost and non-price factors as they are not perceptibly different from each other for the purposes of the arrangement.  These extremes are used together to determine a particular purpose/end-result with the intent to achieve best valueFAR 15.3 and 15.304

Practical Application #3: “Best Value” Continuum, is the continuous goal to be achieved.  Buyers/shoppers are concerned about the quality, successful practicality, and, price of a required supply or service; is the supply/service fitting, is it choice, will it thrive for the purpose intended? 

With such like elements of consideration in mind, buyers/shoppers, distinctively, would also need to determine the level of  risk involved to obtain what is required and/or the manner in which it is required from a reputable and/or appropriate merchant to achieve successful performance (or obtain a fitting deliverable) and investment.   So then, what proportion of importance does non-price and price features/factors represent for selecting an appropriate source?  The shopper is tasked with making that determination based on the particular need.

FAR Part 15 – THE SOURCE SELECTION

The planned approach (TO or LPTA) or “basis for award” is a principal consideration in the Government’s endeavor to establish a best value determination.  A key consideration is that whatever method/approach favored for the effort, that approach shall also significantly influence the selection of appropriate evaluation factors for the acquisition effort.

The Tradeoff Process

The tradeoff process allows for a designation of “best value” when the Government determines that in accordance with a planned acquisition strategy, some designated evaluation factors may be deemed far more important than others.  Therefore, by method of two concepts in this process, specificity of importance is illustrated in the solicitation document by (1) factor relative importance and (2) non-price factor importance, hence “all evaluation factors other than cost or price, when combined, are either “significantly more important than; approximately equal to, or significantly less important than cost or price.”  What is of primary importance to achieve the desired outcome throughout the life of the contractual arrangement?  Is the Government need complex, difficult to define, is there a appraise the scale of technical excellence?    The risk of failure shifts categorical focus on the importance of the non-cost factors.

The Government’s description of need and designated “acceptance criteria” constitute the minimum need of the requirement (the Government also seeks to acquire the required supply/service at a fair and reasonable price).  The described need emphasizes the reasonableness of specifying the relative importance of non-price factors (how well the work will be performed, etc.).  Proposals/offers must meet the minimum need of a requirement.

Particularly, a minimum need is a minimum need; the Government determines the composition/design of the “minimum” need/requirement and describes the need.

In addition, merchants/offerors also need to manage and allocate their human, capital and monetary resources appropriately and in accord with the dominant role these resources will play in a federal contract action.  When usage of the tradeoff process is advertised but the relative importance of the selected evaluation factors is not, the effective use of offeror resources can be misaligned and misapplied which would substantially increase the risk of unsuccessful contract performance.

The Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Process

The Government minimally requires, technical acceptability in offers proposed at the lowest evaluated price in the effort to obtain best value.  While there may be a need for discussions with industry [technical excellence is always important], the trading-off of the importance of the “lowest evaluated price” objective is not favorable or permitted.

However, the LPTA process does allow the Government to consider/evaluate innovative and/or enhanced solutions/products.  Specifically, per FAR, the determination of technical acceptability shall be based on offers received from industry that meet or exceed the advertised acceptability standards for the designated non-cost evaluation factors/features of the requirement.  So the use of

evaluation factors/subfactors is permitted, and, shall be ascribed for the effort.  Particularly, an entire proposal can be deemed/considered “acceptable” even if the technical proposal meets but does not exceed the non-cost standards of acceptability.  When an offer meets the minimum need, at the lowest price, this is tantamount to 100% acceptability.   In other words, an offer is considered/rendered “technically acceptable” when the minimum non-cost standard are met and lowest evaluated price proposals are deemed “acceptable” if minimum non-cost standards are met.

Whichever the approach selected, the Government seeks to determine the acceptability of a proposal based on all factors because all factors are important.  However it is the description of need which determines the practicality of the approach selected along the continuum in the effort to achieve best value and successful contract performance.

Additionally, the “lowest evaluated price” and the tradeoff continuum concept of “significantly less important than price” are not identical in meaning since the latter concept does not require award at the lowest evaluated price or award to the highest rated offer and the concept can represent requirements that are highly technical.  FAR 15.1 

Practical Application #4:  It is the shopper’s choice for the approach to be used and price to pay when making a purchase.  Conscientiously and intellectually, the shopper places the relative importance or value on the specifications and factors for a purchase they need/desire.   For example, to buy a dress or suit, the shopper may consider the following more important than the price:

  • Merchant’s reputable standards of quality and,
  • Merchant’s unique/trademark design cuts for a garment types because the cut accentuates the bodily form more flatteringly or provides a distinguished look in lieu of a more boxed/blunt cut for the general purpose of the garment.

If the shopper can rely on these standards of quality from certain merchants, the shopper places high importance (value and preference) on these factors for the acquisition.  The shopper trades off the importance of the cost consideration for the non-cost features/factors of what they want to buy because of the perceived non-cost benefits.  When the aforementioned factors are not considered more important than price because the shopper is more interested in a cotton T-shirt, the lowest priced, technically acceptable cotton T-shirt will suffice for best value.

Moreover, when shopping, the goal is not always to acquire something at the cheapest cost; it is often to acquire value and cost efficiency: Worth – cost component distribution commensurate with value (how well something is done or made and the purpose it serves).  In other words, is what a shopper gets worth the money spent?  Shoppers want to get some idea of the quality offered and cost efficiency by comparison.

In federal acquisitions, the Government can buy what they need and pay the amount they need to pay to acquire best value, much like personal shoppers.  However, federal acquisitions are established for the direct use and benefit of the Government and to fulfill public policy objectives.  Therefore, conscientious and intellectual decisions/choices must be structured for a formal, public platform consisting instead of a formalized, regulated and written acquisition approach (basis for award) and method of advertising the value placed on the need for industry participation. 

Moreover, acceptability and relative importance is important in either approach (LPTA/TO) and in every acquisition; except depending on the description of need, some factors are more important than others.

EVALUATION FACTORS and EVALUATION

Once the customized/tailored evaluation factors and significant subfactors are established for an acquisition effort, as per FAR, they are employed to develop the contract award decision because they are developed based on the user’s need/objectives. So then, in the effort to attain best value, the designated factors should be designed to represent meaningful/pivotal similarities (for compliance and comparison) and disclose substantive differences and/or risk levels determined among competing offers, yielding appropriate source selection:

Three General Categories of Evaluation Factors and the Evaluation Process

(Normally arranged in the relative order of importance)

  1. Technical: Industry knowledge, expertise. The Government stipulates/indicates the scope/scale of excellence.

    Evaluation:
     The Government’s assessment of the offeror’s ability to perform the prospective contract successfully.  Evaluation is the primary/apex function of (1) the source selection process, (2) evaluation/acceptance criteria and a primary element of the acquisition strategy.The evaluation/examination/assessment involves the determination of an offeror’s particular or special ability to perform well (“how well”); meet the non-cost factor capability standards; potential to achieve successful contract performance and, represent best value to the Government.  Specifically, in this process, qualified and/or professional evaluators apply their engineered, specialized skill and knowledge resourcefulness to identify the vendor/merchant degree of capability (engineering and industrial capacity/expertise) offered for the performance requirement.  The evaluation provides absolute descriptive narratives, ratings and rankings of non-cost factor acceptability or non-acceptability.
  1. Past Performance. This category considers how well an offeror performed in the past for similar requirements or work. An important point to remember is that “relevant” experience and “experience” involves the kind or type or work/performance and not the manner (“ how well”) of performance.Evaluation:  Generally, past performance is a significant indicator of developed/practiced capability.  “The currency and relevance of the information, source of the information, context of the data, and general trends in contractor’s performance is considered”.
  2. Cost/Price. This category evaluates proposals (including proposed option pricing) for cost/price reasonableness and, as appropriate, realism.Evaluation:  Some noteworthy cost/price analyses considerations: 
  • Appropriately design pricing schedules to demonstrate the level of pricing information necessary;
  • Time-and-materials contract types: the Government can request that offerors reveal the cost elements of fully loaded proposed hourly rates. g., base rate, Health and Welfare, FICA, Unemployment tax, G&A and profit, etc., cost elements.
  • Cost analysis can be performed based on requirements that are (1) well defined (fixed price contract types) and (2) can be acquired in highly competitive environments. Specifically, while “adequate competition” can determine price reasonableness, for best value, COs can request that Contractors/Offerors provide “Data Other Than Certified Cost or Pricing Data” (template breakdown of direct and indirect cost elements) which demonstrate how the contractor arrived at the final fixed monthly price.  This information is especially advantageous for subsequent price adjustments and statutory price adjustments (e.g., Service Contract Labor Standard (SCLS) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), etc.).  FAR 15.304 and 15.305

“FACTORS” Practical Application #5: Conscientious shoppers/buyers, particularly those who have a specific need and purpose in mind, intellectually (and through research) craft and compile the features of what they desire to purchase.  For example, when shopping for a garment, the preferable features may include the fabric type (e.g., polyester, rayon wool or cotton), design (formal, casual), and color, etc.  These type of features are normally included in the description of a requirement.   

Key:  For example, all merchants/offerors may have the ability to provide the description features/factors of the supply or service, e.g., a cotton garment.  Nevertheless, how would quality, level of expertise, risk and cost efficiency be measured and evaluated for the cotton garment?  The shopper may get what they want, but how well will it be supplied?  Shoppers shop this way all the time.  They know what they want (cotton), but other factors help them to decide if they are getting the best value or not all relevant factors considered.  Here is where the designated evaluation features/factors come into play.

The evaluation factors/features of the requirement would be those that (1) “represent the key areas of importance and emphasis” (with relation to the written description of work requirements) to be evaluated and/or “considered in the source selection decision” and, (2) provide meaningful comparison and discrimination between and among competing” merchant offerings.  In other words, the factors which make the difference among offerings for those most likely to receive award.   In federal acquisitions, the FAR prescribes that these factors/features should include price, quality and past performance in making a determination of best value.   

When evaluating the resulting garment (suit, dress, coat, etc.) the shopper’s designated evaluation factors may include: 

  • Technical:  (1) Merchant reputable standards of quality; (2) Unique/trademark design cuts for garment types and, (3) specific/unique array of standard color hues (more soft pastel-like than bold colors) for specific garments, etc.
  • Past Performance:  (1) Customer reviews; (2) duration of business and, (3) delivery times and return policies, etc., and,
  • Price:  The correlating selling price/cost (cost efficiency – the worth of the price)

EVALUATION Practical Application #6: Shoppers examine/evaluate a delivered purchase based on whatever the shopper requested; instruction provided and discussions held, or based on an advertised product or service.  They consequently discover whether they are satisfied with the purchase or not, even if their needs have been met.  The deliverable also reveals whether or not the shopper was clear in specifying their specifications and expectations.  Often shoppers question whether advanced or the most advanced items were provided or concepts were applied despite receiving exactly what the shopper ordered. 

To use the garment example, if a shopper receives an ordered garment as a result of a tailoring arrangement, e.g., a skirt suit.  How should the shopper evaluate the garment?  Would the shopper determine/judge whether the merchant is reputable, trustworthy and held up their end of the bargain based on “changed desiresafter the garment is delivered? E.g., a newly discovered (online, etc.), ready-made or otherwise offered garment(s):

  • offered out of the scope of the original design; a pant suit rather than a skirt suit;
  • offered by a different designer and includes more attractive embellishments;
  • offered in a different color or more appealing color hue;
  • Just looks more refined;
  • offered at a lower or fraction of the agreed upon price

Rather, in the interest of fairness, reputation and good business practice, the shopper should stick to/make their judgments based on the original plan of action and acceptance/evaluation criteria.  After all, the shopper’s need was met and as equally important, the merchant has expended valuable time and resources to fulfill a specific and/or special/unique need/purpose.

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

Performance standards provide a uniform fundamental measurement of acceptance for each evaluated proposal; a general model for all contenders; standards also illustrate the relationship between the statement of work and evaluation factors and promote evaluation consistency and fairness.    Specifically, for acquisition requirements wherein the Government elects not to  specify how the work is to be performed (“desired-outcome/performance-based specifications”), the Government must indicate the acceptable and fundamental condition/standard of quality required for the product or service.

Practical Application #7: Using the garment example, standards would include: 

(1) Manufactured in accordance with a particular industry or environmental standard; (2) Handmade; (3) made of a particular type of fabric (e.g. Pima/Egyptian cotton, etc.); (4) free of fabric fraying, discolorations and minor defects and, (4) Laundered requirement: Dry-clean only.  As applicable, standards written in the form of questions to ascertain technical/quality components may be suitable acceptance/evaluation criteria.

EXCHANGES

Clarifications, Communications and Discussions (“Negotiations”) exchanges.  Specific categorical exchanges are engaged for potential awards dependent on whether or not “discussions” will be conducted ( work description, selected approach).

Clarifications – Limited and befit circumstances for award without discussions; appropriate when conducting the “Communication” exchange to make clear a matter as a result of perceived weaknesses.

Communications – Limited in purpose to adverse and ambiguous offer conditions of a significance that would require further exploration (perceived weaknesses/material issues), pending establishment of the competitive range.  In other words, all other factors considered, the proposal would be placed in the competitive range due to the potential for award or probable potential for award.

Hence, award without discussions may not be determined as an adequate option to achieve best value.

Competitive Range Determination

A primary objective of the competitive range is to better the Government’s ability to award an offer determined to represent best value and not to eliminate proposed efforts.  The range is otherwise comprised of proposals perceived to have the highest potential for award.

Discussions:  These exchanges are not limited; primary objective is to maximize the Government’s ability to obtain in-scope best value.  The exchange is undertaken by the Government with the intent of allowing the offerors to revise their proposals.  The matters for discussion are customized for each evaluated offeror in the competitive range and involve observed deficiencies and unfavorable analyses that highly rated contenders have not had the opportunity to provide a response.

Examples of discussions/negotiations include: Engaging clarifications and communications to bargain (cost, labor and management efficiency) requirements; troubleshooting perceived deficiencies, weaknesses and strengths; bargaining in-scope material changes/improvements; engaging the alteration of assumptions and positions, etc., that the Government has determined requires appropriate exploration, discussion/negotiation.

Practical Application #8: Shopping always involves engaging communications.   In particular matters of availability, shoppers will “go the extra mile” to locate and inquire about a desired product or service.  Using the garment example, generally, no discussion is necessary for simplistic purchases and when shopping, a shopper may discover a type of garment offered from a variety of online sources or when travelling from location to location.  The disparity in the variety offered however, may be the price, although competitive, and, maybe slight differences in features.   Often, simple fact checks consist of online chatting to clarify price, features, availability elsewhere if the desired size or color is not available, etc., or traveling from mall to mall and local district-to-district if/when the item is so earnestly desired. 

Fittingly, the value to the shopper of the desired garment will impact the scope of communication to ultimately acquire the best value. 

The SOURCE SELECTION DECISION (SSD)

Key considerations for the source selection decision is that:

  • Although the decision shall be based on an independent judgment, the decision is a comparative assessment of proposals against all source selection criteria in the solicitation;
  • The attainment of the best value contractual arrangement is always the principle objective;
  • The primary components of the comparative assessment to determine best value include: (1) the description of work; (2) the designated source selection/acceptance criteria (factors [including relative importance] and the selected approach).
  • Evaluation team summary ratings are considerations for an independent

Practical Application #9:  In the effort to secure best value, notwithstanding the selling technique: sales-pitch, advertising, bargaining, varied customization of proposals; offered/future discounts, the shopper /decision-maker makes his/her judgment based on the “plan of action”. To be sure, some activities and techniques are essentially statements/matters of opinion.

FAR PART 12 Evaluations and FAR PARTS 8.4, 13 and 16.5 Order Contracting Evaluations

A primary consideration for the design of evaluation/acceptance criteria for FAR Parts 12, 13 and Subparts FAR 8.4, 13 and 16.5 “order contracting” endeavors, is the dollar threshold evaluation objective.  In other words, since these acquisition procedure evaluation requirements are predicated on the fundamental “source selection” prescriptions of FAR Part 15, how can the contracting professional design suitable evaluation requirements for these other acquisition procedures?

FAR Part 12 Evaluations

The statutory goal of commercial item flexibilities is to “reduce any impediments…to the acquisition of commercial items”.  (See 41 USC 1906, 1907 and 3307).

While commercial item acquisition evaluation procedures involve the fundamental source selection and evaluation concepts prescribed in FAR Part 15, these concepts can be applied for Part 12 evaluation procedures within the scope and as specifically prescribed in FAR Part 12

Streamlined Solicitation/Evaluation:  The streamlined solicitation procedures also include “streamlined evaluation” procedures (FAR 12.602).  Commercial item acquisition streamlining procedures impact the designated evaluation criteria and evaluation process.  If the estimated dollar value of the acquisition requirement is <SAT, since the process is streamlined:  (1) simplified commercial evaluation methods may be used (no factors, streamlined exchanges, etc., as applicable) and, (2) the description of work factors/features and/or evaluation factors can constitute the “acceptance criteria”, as applicable.  The specific “source selection criteria” denotation/term is not used.

Streamline and Non-Streamline Evaluation:  Specifically, while FAR Part 12 and 15 evaluation concepts may be used in conjunction, it is noteworthy that FAR clause 52.212-2 is titled “Evaluation-Commercial items”, not Source Selection-Commercial Items.   However, the use of factors is determined by the complexity and performance objectives of the requirement.  Moreover, a form of acceptance criteria must be included in every acquisition.  If factors are not used, acceptance criteria should be included in the work description and/or performance standards.

If the estimated value is >SAT, the complexity and performance objectives of the requirement will influence the scope of the evaluation/acceptance criteria and evaluation method. [the evaluation procedure is advertised in FAR Provisions 52.212-1 and 52.212-2].  Specifically, since the requirement has been determined to be commercial (active engagement in regular commerce/customary commercial practices), only as much information as required to differentiate commercial item quotes or offers is necessary to fulfill the evaluation criteria objective.

Ultimately, specific quote or offer substance and related requirements will depend on the procedures used in conjunction with FAR part 12 (FAR parts 13, 14 or 15).

Moreover, contracting professionals may elect to use categorical exchanges in combination e.g., communications/discussions.

Lastly, Per FAR, “A technical evaluation would normally include the examination of such things as product literature, product samples (if requested), technical features and warranty provisions.”  As previously stated, the complexity and performance objectives of the requirement will influence the scope of the evaluation/acceptance criteria and evaluation method (LPTA/TO).

FAR 8.4, 13 and 16.5 Evaluations

While FAR Subpart 8.4 acquisition evaluation procedures involve the fundamental source selection and evaluation concepts prescribed in FAR Part 15, some of these concepts (use of factors, tradeoff, LPTA basis for award, etc.) are and can be applied for FAR Subpart 8.4 evaluation procedures within the scope and as specifically prescribed in FAR 8.4.

In every acquisition, the Government’s requirement must include an appropriate provision for a “basis for award” and suitable “acceptance criteria”.  If factors are not used, acceptance criteria should be included in the work description and/or performance standards.  Moreover, industry must be provided fair opportunity in order-contracting endeavors within the scope of FAR prescriptions and/or an applicable contractual arrangement.  An inflation of acquisition requirement objectives and estimated dollar values directly influences evaluation objectives and performance requirement acceptability parameters.

Examples:  FAR 8.4  Ordering procedures for supplies, and services not requiring a statement of work

Orders at or below the micro-purchase threshold and, not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold

For evaluation purposes, a determination of whether the Government’s needs have been met is made through the acceptance of ordered products or services from any schedule contractor.  Meaning, acceptance criteria considerations (supply/service requirements) and best value are determined/made prior to placing and order.   [These ordering procedures also apply for “services requiring a SOW” and Single and Multiple-Award BPA Orders requiring a SOW.] The Government (Ordering activities will have considered reasonably available information or have requested quotations from a sufficient amount of schedule contractors. [These procedures also apply to the establishment of BPAs.]

Proposed orders exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold

For the purposes of evaluation, fairly considered scheduled contractors are evaluated pursuant to the description of supplies or services (not a SOW) specified in the FSS contract and the “basis upon which the selection will be made” (e.g., LPTA/TO) and acceptance criteria including factors – the complexity and performance objectives of the requirement will influence the scope of the evaluation/acceptance criteria and evaluation method) to determine best value.  [These procedures also apply to the establishment of BPAs.]

These evaluation criteria considerations generally apply to FAR Part 13 and 16.5 acquisition procedures.

Ordering procedures for services requiring a statement of work.

Orders exceeding the micro-purchase threshold, but not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold

For the purposes of evaluation, scheduled contractors are evaluated pursuant to a developed statement of work and designated evaluation criteria (can include factors) to determine best value; the complexity of the requirement will influence the scope of the evaluation/acceptance criteria and evaluation method.    [These ordering procedures apply to orders exceeding the SAT and to the establishment of BPAs.]

Proposed orders exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold

In addition, to the ordering requirements as specified above, the Government is responsible for determining the level of effort required and the evaluation methodology [These procedures also apply to the establishment of BPAs.]

“FAR 8.4 BPA and FAR 16.5 selected evaluation criteria is generally a result of both a derivative of the criteria scope specified in the BPA or Indefinite Delivery Contract (IDC) and, customized criteria for the specific effort”.

Government and contractor personnel are not prohibited from engaging in communications and negotiating, requesting and extending price discounts in the acquisition process. An appropriate evaluation involves the type of requirement and the application and identification of schedule contractor engineering and/or industrial capability, or, the comparison (catalog, schedule contract information, etc.) and identification of acceptability.  The contracting professional seeks to place the order with the contractor that represents the best value pursuant to the requirements of the effort.

So how does the contracting professional make the distinction between these correlating source selection and evaluation procedures?  The contracting professional makes the necessary distinction as a matter of due course; particularly through development of the plan of action (strategy) specifically, the planned performance and evaluation objectives and estimated monetary value of the effort and, the selection of a befitting acquisition procedure.

The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Commerce or the United States (5 CFR 2635.807(b)).