Procurement

Sharing contractor performance data in eight easy steps

man graphs performance

OFPP wants to improve the quality of contractor data in the Federal Award Performance and Integrity Information System. (Stock image)

The Obama administration is pressing the acquisition workforce to get better at telling other agencies, through a governmentwide online performance database, how well contractors do their jobs.

Joe Jordan, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, wants to improve the quantity and quality of data agencies put into the Federal Award Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS).

FAPIIS is the foundation for good data, Jordan stressed in the memo, dated March 6.

"However, " he added, "agencies must increase their use of these tools, as underreporting performance information leaves the government vulnerable to poor acquisition outcomes in the future."

Jordan gave senior acquisition officials several strategies to get employees entering data. He tells chief acquisition officers and senior procurement executives to:

  •   Emphasize the need for data in FAPIIS.
  •  Make it clear their expectations. They should establish their past performance reporting baseline and set aggressive quarterly targets.
  •  Acknowledge the employees who do well for entering quality and quantities of data into FAPIIS. Give them an award from the CAO Council. At the same time, hold accountable employees who do not do a good job at entering data. "Recognizing good performance and holding contractors accountable for poor performance is critical to delivering value to taxpayers," Jordan wrote.
  •  Think creatively to motivate employees.
  •  Prioritize which contract types and data are most important in FAPIIS, such as cost-reimbursement contracts and the complex acquisitions. Federal employees are supposed to enter information about contractors FAPIIS, such as nonresponsibility determinations, terminations for default or cause, defective pricing determinations, and suspensions and debarments.
  •  Accentuate the need for past performance data, since it is a means of choosing the best companies for work.
  •  Encourage employees to frequently communicate with contractors through interim evaluations to deal with their performance. They need to share with the companies their agency’s plans for achieve success in gathering the data.
  •  Train employees in how to input the data and what agencies need and even expect to find in FAPIIS. Jordan pointed officials to training courses led by the Federal Acquisition Institute and the Defense Acquisition University.

"Improving the collection and use of this information will increase agencies’ ability to deliver better outcomes and increase productivity," Jordan wrote.

About the Author

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

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Reader comments

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 Owen Ambur Hilton Head Island, SC

Procurement officials should not be forced to enter contractor performance data into a stovepipe database as an after-the-fact, make-work activity. Instead, contractor performance should routinley be documented in the ongoing course of managing their performance. Contractor performance plans and reports should be published on agency websites in an open, standard, machine-readable format, like StratML. Those reports should be automatically ingested, indexed, and made available for analyses in services like FAPIIS. (Incidentally, the same is true of Federal employee performance plans, particular SES employee plans.)

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 Jaime Gracia Washington, DC

What the memo fails to address is why the information is not being entered into PPIRS to begin with, and also why contractor oversight is currently so lax. It is a startling abrogation of ones duties to those responsible with being stewards of taxpayers money, and one that needs corrective actions through enforcement and proper program management. Past performance, especially for services, should be one of the most important evaluation criteria in selecting a contractor for award. However, the incomplete or missing data, combined with allowing contractors to submit their own evaluations from favored customers, often does not allow for differentiation and drives evaluations in areas that often let irresponsible contractors get way with murder because they offer ridiculously low-prices to win work in this era of institutionalizing "buying in."

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