Proposal cuts time for vendors to comment on performance reviews

Wednesday - 8/7/2013, 2:14pm EDT

Federal contractors will have less time to comment on past performance evaluations from agency customers.

A new proposed rule from the Federal Acquisition Regulations Council issued in today's Federal Register would reduce the timeline to 14 days from 30 before the agency posts the evaluation in the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS).

The FAR Council is updating the regulations as required by section 853 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

"In addition, the law now requires that past performance evaluations be available to source selection officials not later than 14 days after the evaluation was provided to the contractor, whether or not contractor comments have been received," the proposed rule stated. "This is likely to serve as an impetus to contractors to meet the 14 calendar days deadline for comments. Having a past performance evaluation, with the contractor's comments and explanations included, available to source selection officials within 14 days will be to the advantage of most contractors. These timely evaluations will allow contractors who are meeting their contractual obligations to be more competitive for future awards."

The council stated if the contractor can't comment in 14 days, the agency can add the vendor's comments after the write-up has been uploaded to PPIRS.

"In addition, the planned system changes will allow the government to revise a past performance evaluation in PPIRS if the government determines, after the 14-day period has expired, that corrections should be made to the past performance evaluation," the proposed rule stated.

The council would like to hear from vendors about the rule on the following topics:

  • How will the expedient posting of these reports in the system potentially impact your business?
  • What are some ways to limit any extra burden, if any, this requirement is having on your business?

"Timely reporting of this information will be crucial to the successful implementation of this regulation," the proposal stated. "Expediting the time allotted to contractors to respond to performance evaluations should improve communication between the contractor and the government, enable current information to be shared quickly throughout the government, and ultimately ensure the government does business with high performing contractors."

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has been trying to get agencies to use the PPIRS system since, at least, 2008. In March, Joe Jordan, OFPP administrator, issued a policy memo — the fourth since 2008 from OFPP — setting specific goals for agencies to enter data into the system. This year, the goals vary depending on how often the agency is currently entering data into PPIRS. For instance, departments inputting data for 60 percent or more of their contracts, must improve to 85 percent by Sept. 30. For agencies using PPIRS 30 percent to 60 percent of the time, their goal now is 75 percent. And for those agencies using PPIRS less than 30 percent of the time, their goal is 65 percent.

The Government Accountability Office reported in 2009 that agencies are not using past performance evaluations to make decisions on contract awards. OFPP tried in 2011 to get agencies to improve the quality of the data in PPIRS as well.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by Oct. 7.

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