There are very few contractors in federal procurement that never had some level of concern or disagreement with contractor past performance evaluation ratings (CPAR Ratings) under the Contract Performance Evaluation System (CPARS Evaluation).
Companies are often misguided on how to formally challenge contractor performance ratings. As a result, they spend thousands of dollars only to find out they did not follow the correct process.
Negative contractor CPAR ratings can severely impact your ability to get future government contracts. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to understand their legal rights under the CPARs Evaluation process.
- The key to challenging CPARS past performance ratings is to provide detailed explanations when the government sends the evaluation to you.
- Add additional pages if necessary.
- Do not simply disagree with the agency, you must focus on detail and present evidence to support your position of why your contractor past performance evaluation is not justified.
Courts have struggled with how to deal with situations where contractors seek court intervention. However, both the Boards of Contract Appeals and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims agree that CPARS challenges can fall within the purview of the Contract Disputes Act (CDA).
Contractor Past Performance & CPARS Ratings
When challenging the government’s contractor past performance ratings, companies should first see whether the agency provided completed assessment rating for any comment or rebuttal. The CPARS evaluation process provides some minimum level of due process. See FAR 42.1503.
However, the ability to dispute final contractor ratings in PPIRS or CPARS evaluations can be very difficult. When you receive notice of the final performance review, you have 30 days to respond to comments or rebuttal to unsatisfactory past performance ratings.
- Presenting details at this stage sets the stage for protecting your rights on appeal.
- You cannot introduce new evidence at the appeal stage.
The Reviewing Official is responsible for reviewing, commenting on, and then issuing a CPAR when the review reflects a disagreement between the Assessing Official and the contractor. Once the agency reviewing official enters her final decision over the contractor’s dispute, the past performance evaluation ratings will then enter into its final resting place called PPIRS, the Past Performance Information Retrieval System.
Initiating CPAR Ratings Challenge
The first step when challenging contractor performance assessment reports, CPAR ratings and evaluation reviews is to provide a lengthy detailed and factual basis for your disagreement in your response. Government contractors should point to inaccuracies in the record; it is crucial to have documentation throughout the performance period supporting your disagreement.
- You should also ask the contracting officer for a reevaluation although the FAR does not require it.
- If you need more than allowed 30 days to respond the less than satisfactory CPARs rating, always ask the agency in writing.
Initiating the Formal CPARS Evaluation Challenge? Once the contractor ratings and CPARS evaluation is completed by the agency, government contractors should initiate a claim with the Contracting Officer under the Contract Disputes Act.
- Failure to follow this step will prove disastrous for any appeal filed either at the Board of Contracts Appeal or U.S Court of Federal Claims.
- Challenging the government’s contractor past performance evaluation is legally considered a dispute relating to the contract under the CDA.
The Act requires that “[a]ll claims by a contractor against the government relating to a contract shall be in writing and shall be submitted to the contracting officer for a decision.” 41 USC 605(a).
- Your CPARS evaluation dispute claims should not simply reflect a disagreement with the government.
- The performance evaluation must be complete in order to start the claims or appeal process.
- The CDA claim should be specific and detailed enough to allow the contracting officer to make a reasonable determination.
- You must receive a contracting officer’s final decision before looking to appeal to the Board or Court of Federal Claims.
Appealing Contractor Past Performance & CPARs Ratings
After the Contracting Officer issues a final decision denying your claim to change your CPARS ratings, the disputes process now gives the appellate court subject matter jurisdiction to hear your complaint.
There are numerous contractor CPAR ratings appeal cases that were dismissed simply because the contractor did not follow the required process. This cannot only be a waste of valuable effort, but also a substantial waste of time and legal fees. See information about evaluating subcontractor past performance.
For additional help preparing a Contract Disputes Act claims with challenging the government’s contractor performance assessment report and CPARs ratings, and to avoid costly legal mistakes, call our government contract lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.