New past performance database proposed

The proposed rule would require contracting officers to review past performance information

Federal officials plan to launch a new database with histories of contractors’ past work for the government, according to a Federal Register notice posted today.

The database, named the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), would contain specific information on companies' and grantees' past work with the government and how well they performed. The proposed rule would also require contracting officers to review the data and consider the past performance information when evaluating a company's bid on a contract, according to the proposed amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Determining whether a contractor is responsible involves reviewing whether a company has historically completed projects as expected and not wasted the government's money.

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council have proposed the rule based on a provision in the fiscal 2009 National Defense Authorization Act. The comment period lasts until Oct. 5.

The proposed amendment would require that for each solicitation of more than $500,000, companies submitting bids must report whether they are currently performing contracts and grants worth at least $10 million. More information for the new database would be required only if the company reaches that mark, the notice states. Regulators say they expect roughly 5,000 contractors will have to enter data into the Web site.

Meanwhile, the government has two other databases with similar information. The Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) is the current single, governmentwide repository for contractor performance data. Like the PPIRS, agencies also have the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System, which includes past performance information from agencies. However, not all agencies use it.

Then there’s the Excluded Parties List System with information on companies that are currently suspended or debarred from working with the government. In general, though, suspensions or debarments last for a maximum of three years while the defense authorization law requires information for the past five years.

President Barack Obama told agencies March 4 to hunt down wasteful spending and useless contracts. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy issued a memo in July, saying closer tabs on contractors’ past work will help agencies find those inefficiencies.

About the Author

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

Reader Comments

Tue, Sep 8, 2009 Christopher Washington DC

Let me get this straight. So, we're adding a THIRD contractor past performance database? Why on earth can't we just get agencies to use PPIRS and/or CPARS? If they need to get some tweaks to get all the info, then just make the tweaks. The government's ability to develop, ignore, abandon, and then duplicate systems continues to astound me. This is just plain DUMB.

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 Taxpayer

I am a taxpayer and I would like to start making companies accountable for their performance. Performance information should be public.

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 Jeff Stachewicz, Counsel Washington DC

For several years FOIA Group, Inc. has been fighting the government to release these performance rating scores. Currently we have 3 FOIA appeals filed at DoD for portions of the database that should be considered release able to the public (i.e. final ratings, not narratives or discussions). These scores would reveal which failing contractors continue to receive millions of dollars of government contract awards for poor performance.
Our FOIA requests seeking the disclosure of government contractors performance scores has finally reached the Office of the Under Secretary at the Department of Defense for final review and decision. During the past several years, FOIA Group, Inc., a Washington based information firm, has repeatedly attempted to secure these ratings under FOIA, but had met strong resistance from Bush Administration bureaucracy.
The government’s argument for keeping these performance ratings secret is simply that the disclosure could possibly imperil the entire government procurement system. This response is “bull hockey”; this is a typical bureaucratic response designed to negate public scrutiny and shield embarrassment. The government’s rationale is seriously flawed, noting that similar performance rating systems, often on the same companies, are used by state governments and openly made available to the public without any negative ramifications to either the state or contractors.

The government's Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System, known as CPARS, is a centralized database maintained by DoD’s Business Transformation Agency that tracks contractor performance scores and evaluations. Contractors are rated on the Quality of their Product and Services, Schedule, Cost Controls, Business Relations and the Management of their Key Personnel. According to DOD sources, the CPAR assesses a contractor’s performance and provides a record, both positive and negative, on a given contract during a specific period of time. Each assessment is based on objective facts and supported by program and contract management data.
Jeff Stachewicz, Counsel, FOIA GROUP INC

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