Agencies to share contractor past-performance assessments

A revised rule emphasizes the use of a standard database of performance information

A new revision to federal contracting rules requires agencies to share their assessments of contractors’ work with one another and consider past performance when awarding large task orders.

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council have approved changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation that primarily emphasize using a standard database of performance information. Agencies must store their evaluations of companies’ work in the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) for other agencies to review, the councils said in a notice posted in the Federal Register July 1.

“The purpose of the final rule is to ensure that the FAR clearly reflects the use of the governmentwide performance information repository,” the notice states.

Agencies are to evaluate contractors’ work and enter the information into PPIRS at When other agencies are considering the same contractor for a similar job, they can visit the database to see if the company did a good job and met expectations. In the reviews, agencies look at whether or not the work was completed on time and within budget and how well the company worked with the agency as a business partner.

“Confidence in a prospective contractor’s ability to satisfactorily perform contract requirements is an important factor in making best-value decisions,” the PPIRS Web site states.

In addition, the councils’ rule change extends past-performance reviews beyond contracts. The rule would now require agencies to consider past performance for large orders placed under governmentwide and individual agencies’ indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts, the notice states.

The councils say the regulatory revision is in line with President Barack Obama’s March 4 memo on government contracting and will help agencies manage the risks involved in working with contractors.

“It is essential that the federal government have the capacity to carry out robust and thorough management and oversight of its contracts," Obama wrote in the memo.

Checking a company’s past performance can lessen the risks of outsourcing work, and it spurs companies to work harder to develop good records, the councils said.

About the Author

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

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