Contractor performance reviews: One size fits all?

A new proposal would create one standard for how contracting officers review companies’ past performance on contracts as the reviews become more important to procurement decisions.

Regulators want to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to set a governmentwide standard for past-performance evaluation factors and performance ratings. The proposal would require agencies to post all past-performance information in the governmentwide Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), according to a Federal Register notice released June 28. Read more.

Officials want a system that rates contractors on standard evaluation factors and uses a five-point scale that ranges from excellent to unsatisfactory, reflecting the rating definitions in CPARS. In addition, contracting officers would have to enter incentive-fee and award-fee contract performance ratings into CPARS, according to the notice.


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Agencies had been using various information systems to store their performance reviews, but in 2010, they were ordered to merge with CPARS. Officials said in the notice that they found this an opportune time to standardize the evaluation factors.

The Obama administration and Congress want contracting officers to know more details on who’s bidding for work before issuing an award. They have passed legislation and issued memos to put such an approach into practice.

The Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System includes past-performance reviews of companies, among other important information. Through FAPIIS, contracting officers who have worked with a company can easily share reviews with other officers who are considering the same company for an award. Although most of FAPIIS is now open to the public, the past-performance information is not.

The proposed changes are based on a 2009 Government Accountability Office report on performance information and contract awards and on a memo issued by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in January.

Officials are accepting comments on the proposal through Aug. 29.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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