For federal contractors, it is not an exaggeration to say that performance evaluations are the lifeblood of the business.
A less-than-satisfactory evaluation in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) affects far more than just the agency’s assessment of performance on a particular project. A negative evaluation follows a contractor around – impacting the ability to obtain future contracts due to the specter negative past performance ratings.
The good news for contractors is that the ability to challenge and – if successful – reverse negative CPARS evaluations is a quickly developing area of government contracting law.
The first step in any successful CPARS challenge involves meaningful participation in the evaluation process. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 42.15 entitles contractors to submit comments and receive an agency review of a disputed performance evaluation. Specifically, contractors are entitled to submit comments, rebuttal statements, and/or other information in response to the agency’s evaluation. The agency must then review those comments at a level above the contracting officer and update the evaluation, if necessary.