Government Evaluations of PPIRS Not Always Reasonable
Government contractors often contend that agencies do not adequately review the information found in the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS). However, challenging the agency’s evaluation in a bid protest can be a challenge if you do not properly present the legal argument. Common agency mistakes include:
- Reviewing PPIRS records that are not relevant to the particular government procurement.
- Introducing new evaluation criteria that were not part of the solicitation’s stated criteria.
There a few cases where GAO found that the Agency’s review, and application, of PPIRS information, was unreasonable. However, the burden is on the protestor when litigating the issue. GAO will only determine whether the Agency’s past performance evaluations was reasonable.
- GAO does not re-evaluate PPIRS information.
Contractors should not prepare an argument that seems to disagree merely with the Agency. GAO will deny the protest on that ground. When protesting Past Performance Information Retrieval System evaluations (PPIRS), contractors must look to see whether the past performance information in PPIRS is inaccurate.
Did The Agency Ignore Favorable PPIRS Information?
Past performance evaluations shall be prepared at least annually and at the time the work under a contract or order is completed. Past performance evaluations are required for contracts and orders as specified in paragraphs (b) through (f) of this section, including contracts and orders performed outside the United States.
These evaluations are generally for the entity, division, or unit that performed the contract or order. Past performance information shall be entered into CPARS, the Government wide evaluation reporting tool for all past performance reports on contracts and orders.
Although contractors do not have access to sensitive source selection information, their lawyers that are admitted to GAO’s Protective Order should also look to see whether there was another positive past performance that the Agency ignored. You must provide actual contracts to support the argument. Conclusions alone will not be enough to sustain a bid protest.
FAR 42.1501 Language
(a) Past performance information (including the ratings and supporting narratives) is relevant information, for future source selection purposes, regarding a contractor’s actions under previously awarded contracts or orders. It includes, for example, the contractor’s record of— (1) Conforming to requirements and to standards of good workmanship; (2) Forecasting and controlling costs; (3) Adherence to schedules, including the administrative aspects of performance; (4) Reasonable and cooperative behavior and commitment to customer satisfaction; (5) Reporting into databases (see subpart 4.14, and reporting requirements in the solicitation provisions and clauses referenced in 9.104-7); (6) Integrity and business ethics; and (7) Business-like concern for the interest of the customer.
(b) Agencies shall monitor their compliance with the past performance evaluation requirements (see 42.1502), and use the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) and Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) metric tools to measure the quality and timely reporting of past performance information.
Does The Agency’s Past Performance Information Retrieval System Evaluation Record Explain its Findings?
During bid protest litigation, the Agency must provide its record to the protestor, or the protestor’s lawyer. It is critical to know that contractors appearing pro se can be at a great disadvantage because they are not admitted to GAO’s Protective Order. As a result, they cannot see the relevant information to make a persuasive argument.
If the Agency’s record is insufficiently documented, GAO may sustain the protest. See Clean Harbors Envtl. Servs., Inc., B-296176.2, Dec. 9, 2005. A record that does not provide sufficient information to determine the reasonableness of the Agency’s past performance evaluation criteria can be grounds for GAO to sustain the protest.
For help challenging the government contracting agency’s past performance evaluation in the Past Performance Information Retrieval System, call our bid protest attorneys at 1-866-601-5518. FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.