The Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS)
A contractor’s past performance is a required assessment factor in source selection evaluations for all contracts that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. The CPARS is designated as the federal government-wide system for collection of government contractor information. The CPARS helps track contractor performance, and aids government agencies selecting awardees in their source selection evaluations.
The Importance of Past Performance Ratings
Past performance information is critical to the success of contractors, and CPARS is the contractor’s final report card. Not only does your CPAR affect the current job and any future options, but all future awards as well. Given such high stakes, the regulatory requirements prescribed within FAR Subpart 42.15 are highly specific and require government officials to fairly and objectively evaluate contractor performance. “The evaluation should include clear relevant information that accurately depicts the contractor’s performance, and be based on objective facts supported by program and contract or order performance data.” FAR 42.1503(b)(1).
Challenging a CPARS Evaluation Rating
It is the contractor’s right to challenge unfavorable ratings. The FAR permits a contractor to submit comments into the CPAR System. A contractor has 60 days to submit comments. Submitted rebuttal comments are viewable to evaluation personnel making source selection decisions. If the contractor comments are input within 15 days of the posted date, the contractor comments are posted with the original evaluation. A Reviewing Official (RO), at a level above the contracting officer, makes a determination regarding all disagreements. If the evaluation rating is still in dispute after the RO’s review, a contractor may file a formal claim under FAR 33.2 with the contracting officer. The CO will review and issue a final decision.
If the CPAR evaluation is still in dispute after CPARS comments and the contracting officer decision, the contractor may submit a claim appeal to overcome unfair or inaccurate ratings. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled that Boards of Contract Appeals and the Court of Federal Claims have subject-matter jurisdiction over CPARS disputes. Boards of Contract Appeals have the authority to make findings and remand the matter back to the agency with such direction as it may deem proper and just. Further appeal is available at the U.S. Court of Appeals. A contractor’s reputation and past performance is the lifeblood of the company, so challenging unfair or inaccurate CPARS ratings is a critical concern for future business.
If you have questions regarding your CPAR ratings or other federal government contract issues, contact the professionals at Williamson Law Group at (301) 788-8198 for confidential and candid assistance and counsel, or e-mail our attorneys at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Contract Compliance Update is to keep readers current on government contract matters and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact Williamson Law Group for legal advice regarding your particular case.