It is not uncommon for disappointed offerors to protest an award decision arguing that an agency improperly converted a “best value” procurement to a low-price, technically acceptable (“LPTA”) procurement. The argument in these cases generally goes that the agency ignored the protester’s technical superiority and just made a selection based on lowest price.
In a recent case before GAO (Triad Logistics Services Corporation, B-407842.2, April 22, 2013), a protester actually attempted to argue the inverse of that argument. The protester challenged the award decision of a LPTA procurement arguing that the contracting agency improperly converted the decision to best value. The protester argued that the agency in its technical evaluation improperly considered innovations offered by the awardee, which thereby converted the procurement to best value. GAO denied the protest, noting that the solicitation allowed the agency to consider innovations, and the agency ultimately rated offerors on an acceptable/unacceptable basis. Thus, there was no conversion from LPTA to best value.
GAO’s decision in this case can be accessed here, although the case is really only interesting for the inverted argument.