Do You Really Understand  How to Protest the Government’s Past Performance Evaluation Criteria?

A bad past Addressing Protesting Past Performance Evaluation Criteria in GAO Bid Protestsperformance evaluation rating can impact your overall chances of getting the ultimate award in government contracting.

Many contractors file a bid protest addressing how the government applied its past performance evaluation criteria but fall short of a viable strategy for doing so.

Rationale for Performance Management Process: The government’s source selection team looks at your past performance simply as an indicator of any future risk of non-performance. When responding to the RFP, keep in mind that your past projects must be relevant in size, scope and complexity.

Without a clear understanding of vendor past performance evaluation criteria as spelled out in the solicitation, and the critical legal issues that arise, prevailing in a bid protest can be problematic.

  • You must carefully decide whether the projects submitted with your proposal met the agency’s relevancy standards for past performance.
  • Most past performance evaluation scores suffer for a lack of relevancy.
  • You should look for past performance that the agency disregarded.
  • Did your proposal map each past performance project to the specific PWS requirements?

Before waiting until the bidding stage, make sure that your contractor past performance evaluation records are current and that there will be no surprises at the tender stage.  

Challenging or addressing the government’s past performance information evaluation criteria includes keeping track your performance on active or completed contracts.  

Solicitation’s past performance evaluation criteria do not have to include entire agency Source Selection Plan: When deciding to challenge the agency’s past performance evaluation scores, you should also know that an agency does not have to divulge its complete evaluation details or its entire source selection plan in the solicitation Performance Management Process.

Instead, government contract law requires the agency only to give you enough information that allows you to compete fairly. See more information about agency past performance evaluation confidence ratings.

What does the solicitation say? When challenging how the agency applied its past performance evaluation criteria against your proposal in a bid protest, you first want to see whether the agency reasonably described how it will conduct your past performance in the solicitation itself. If not, and the RFP language is vague, then consider filing a pre-award protest.

  • Unless you see a need in the solicitation that makes the agency’s past performance evaluation criteria requirement as unduly restrictive (you must file a GAO protest before bid submission).
  • If you have copies of your CPARS evaluation reports, you should submit them as an attachment to your proposal (if allowed).

Tips for a bid protest: When addressing past performance evaluation criteria in GAO bid protests, the Agency has wide discretion in evaluating the relevance, scope, and complexity.  Companies should be extremely careful with the legal and factual arguments they use.

Instead, when it comes to the Performance Management Process during litigation, contractors should be focusing on discussing how the agency did not follow the solicitation’s evaluation criteria. Information gathered in the debriefing is critical because until a lawyer gets to the agency record stage, the contractor must focus on having its bid protest withstand a motion to dismiss.

Litigating bid protest cases have various nuances when a protestor challenges the agency’s past performance evaluation score. If your legal argument simply is seen as disagreeing with the agency and no facts to support it, you are almost certain to lose the protest on that ground.

  • You have to find a material mistake in the agency’s past performance evaluation process.
  • Failure to accomplish this will result in the agency alleging that you are merely disagreeing with them.
  • This will more than likely get the protest dismissed.

See also information about past performance of parent companies.

For Help Applying the Complex Rules, See the Level of Bid Protest Services We Offer

For help with filing a GAO protest for improper past performance evaluation criteria, call our bid protest lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.

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