Industry groups take past-performance complaint to OFPP

Two industry advisory groups today sent a letter to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy requesting a review of how agencies use past performance information in contract competition.

The letter stems from a case last month when the Air Force's Standard System Group used past performance data to narrow the field of vendors competing for several blanket purchase agreement contracts.

The Information Technology Association of America and the Professional Services Council believe the data and how it was used "completely contradicts the most fundamental precepts of how past-performance systems should operate," according to the letter to OFPP Administrator Deidre Lee."We believe strongly that the basic past performance principals that have been developed by OFPP, and widely implemented in government, must be universally applicable," the letter states. "This is uniquely important for past performance because it, more than any other element of the reform architecture, has a major and often dominant impact on who can compete and who wins or loses."

SSG used the "Federal Government IT Community Evaluates Vendor Competitiveness" survey to decide which vendors would be invited to bid on the BPAs. The survey was based on ratings by Federal Computer Week subscribers and issued in March 1998 by FCW Media Group Inc., the parent company of FCW.

That survey, according to the letter, "is not intended to provide a detailed assessment of past performance as is necessary before excluding contractors from a bidding opportunity."

The PSC and ITAA believe that use of such a survey violates federal past-performance evaluation procedures and denies vendors an opportunity to rebut negative performance ratings, as required by the Federal Acquisition Regulations and the Best Practices Guidance Manual developed by OFPP and the Office of Management and Budget.

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