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Government Contracts Monitor

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Including Past Performance Information Needed to Support Award Decisions

February 28, 2013

By: Lindsay Simmons

Two years ago OMB issued a memorandum regarding the low percentage of past performance assessments being completed and, as a result, the failure of the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) – the repository for past performance information on contractors – to capture a sufficient quantity of performance assessments. Why is this important?

Source selection officials rely on assessments of contractor past performance to make informed award decisions. Meaningful past performance assessments are critical to ensuring the government does business with companies that deliver quality goods and services on time and within budget.   Now longstanding changes to FAR Subpart 42.15 mandate the preparation, deposit into a retrieval system and use of past performance assessments in making award decisions.  Preparing and entering past performance assessments imposes burden on the acquisition workforce, but these assessments are critical to source selection decisions.

For three years now, FAR changes have been in the works to create standard evaluation factors and performance ratings, which should improve how agencies input this information. FAR Case 2009-042, Documenting Past Performance, was established to standardize this process but was changed to FAR Case 2012-009 in September 2012, upon issuance of a new proposal for “governmentwide standardized past performance evaluation factors and performance rating categories and require that past performance information be entered into the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS).” The final rule is still in the drafting stage. Hopefully, it will be issued soon.

In the meantime, DOD’s Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy recently issued a memorandum reviewing DOD’s current track record for past performance assessment reporting.  It’s not good.  Assessments are being completed for only 67.5% of all DOD contracts.  The Department is pushing for 100% compliance by FY 2015.  But you need to push too.

Who cares?  If you are a contractor that delivers quality goods and services on time and on budget, you should care.  It’s in your best interest to make certain your Contracting Officers complete and submit assessments of your contract performance – to be used in evaluating your next bid or proposal and determining if you should be selected for award.  And you need to make certain these assessments are accurate – a process provided for in FAR Subpart 42.15.


Lindsay Simmons is the attorney responsible for the content of this article.


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