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Rule: contractor evaluations required on orders.

Contracting officers must evaluate contractor performance on task and delivery orders issued under GSA schedules and other multi-agency contracts, according to a final rule effective July 1.

The performance information on orders worth more than $100,000 must be reported to the Past Performance Information Retrieval System, the governmentwide database.

"Past performance information (PPI) can decrease the Government's risk in contracting by rating, at a minimum, quality of work, timeliness, cost, and business relations of contractors for projects above a specified threshold. [Such information] incentivizes contractors to perform well in order to be rewarded with future contracts," the Federal Acquisition Regulation councils wrote.

Whether the rule will make much practical difference is uncertain. While contracting officers were already required to submit past performance evaluations on standard federal contracts, the Government Accountability Office found that many of them weren't doing it.

In an April report, GAO also found that past performance is rarely the primary factor in contract award decisions. "Many contracting officers stated they preferred to rely on other more objective factors such as technical approach or price," the auditors said. "Officials cited several reasons for their reluctance to rely more on past performance in making award decisions including difficulty obtaining objective and candid past performance information."

Contracting officers told GAO that they usually consulted the Past Performance Information Retrieval Sys tem, but often found it inadequate. As a result, they relied on other sources--such as interviews with the contractor's prior customers--for past performance evaluations.

The FAR councils recommended, but did not require, that performance evaluations be submitted for orders under single-agency contracts.

The councils declined to require evaluations of a contractor's compliance with small business subcontracting plans on each task order. They said the subcontracting plans are established on a contract level, not a task order level, and should be evaluated on the same basis.
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Publication:Set-Aside Alert
Date:Jul 10, 2009
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