ShortTake: Past Performance v. Experience - Don’t Conflate the Two
January 27, 2015
By: Lindsay Simmons
In a protest decided last week, a disappointed bidder, Amyx, argued that the government was inconsistent in its evaluation of Amyx’s bid since Amyx received only a “good” rating under the relevant experience criterion but an “outstanding” rating under the past performance criterion, an argument that intuitively may seem correct since the government’s ratings were based on the same projects for both criteria. (Amyx, Inc. B-410623, Jan. 16, 2015). But intuition can be misleading.
Generally, the government’s evaluation under the experience factor is different from its evaluation of past performance. The former focuses on whether, and the extent to which, an offeror has performed similar work, whereas the latter focuses on the quality of the work.
In Amyx, the agency’s “past performance” evaluation focused on the “quality of performance and successful performance relative to the scope, size, complexity and duration to the work described in the RFQ”, whereas its experience evaluation focused on “the relevance and extent . . . that [contracts submitted for review] are similar in size, scope and complexity to the work described in the PWS.”
In short, past performance is how well you performed, while relevant experience is the type of work you performed – two fundamentally different evaluations. A rating in one factor does not automatically result in the same rating under the other.
Lindsay Simmons is responsible for the contents of this short take
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