Reed Smith Client Alerts

A poor past performance evaluation of a contractor’s performance can be the kiss of death to that contractor’s ultimate success in the federal marketplace. A contracting official’s assessment of a rating lower than “very good” for a contractor’s past performance is often dispositive as to whether a contractor’s future proposals may be successful, or its bid protests – where past performance ratings provided a basis for the source selection authority’s exclusion of that offeror’s proposal from award – sustained. A recently released audit shows that the government often makes errors in assessing contractor past performance. Government regulations, however, afford contractors the opportunity to remedy those wrongs.

The Audit

On May 9, the Department of Defense Inspector General (“DoD IG”) released Audit Report No. DODIG-2017-081, Summary of Audits on Assessing Contractor Performance: Additional Guidance and System Enhancements Needed (the “Audit Report”). In the Audit Report, the DoD IG found that Department of Defense (“DoD”) contracting officials were not consistently complying with the Federal Acquisition Regulations (“FAR”) and the Guidance for the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (“CPARS Guide”) for evaluating contractor past performance. The audit identified weaknesses within DoD’s contracting officials’ preparation of contractor performance assessment reports (“PARs”) and potential improvements to the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (“CPARS”). The Audit Report is a cogent reminder that contractors, and their counsel, must be cognizant about how executive agencies review and assess contractors’ performance.