In case you missed it, Sean Milani-nia and I recently hosted a webinar regarding the importance of CPARS performance evaluations for federal contractors.
We were fortunate to have an engaged audience and, as a result, some productive Q&A throughout the presentation. The discussion focused on two key subjects:
The Need for Internal CPARS Corporate Processes
CPARS performance evaluations are highly regulated — including important rules related to the time for inputting comments in the CPARS system,
When a business receives a CPARS evaluation, it should trigger an automatic response from corporate leadership to review the evaluation and consider whether comments are needed (and comments are almost always needed). The goal should be to input comments within 14 days.
We also discussed that the most effective CPARS comments include specific and detailed information — often to the point of citing specific project correspondence or communications. In order to meet this standard, it is important to include the project team in the comment drafting process. Too often, we encounter contractor comments that are too generic or that fail to include important information that could have resulted in a better evaluation rating.
Early Intervention and Dispute Resolution
When dealing with a less than ideal CPARS evaluation, contractors need to act quickly and deliberately to achieve the best results.
During our discussion period, we heard multiple stories about detailed comments submitted early in the process yielding positive results. Often, comments followed by a phone call or letter can be even more effective in terms of raising the profile of an erroneous evaluation.
When these early intervention strategies fail, contractors need to be aware of the availability of legal remedies at the Court of Federal Claims or Board of Contract Appeals — both have jurisdiction to hear CPARS claims. While these types of claims are usually equitable (no damages attached), they can be essential for contractor business development. CPARS evaluations are a key part of agency Past Performance evaluations. An unjustified Marginal or Unsatisfactory rating could be the difference between a win or loss on your next proposal.
If you were not able to attend the webinar and have questions about a CPARS evaluation, we would be happy to discuss. We also have copies of the presentation materials available.
Nick Solosky is a Partner in Fox Rothschild’s Government Contracts Practice Group. You can reach Nick directly at NSolosky@FoxRothschild.com or 202-696-1460.