The Importance of Obtaining Highly Rated References and Evaluations
Completed Past Performance Questionnaires (PPQs) have stirred up quite a controversy in the federal proposal arena lately. The government uses PPQs to ensure contracts are being awarded to responsible contractors with satisfactory performance records, benefitting tax payers. So, why such a controversy? Often the PPQ is a dreaded portion of the proposal process for contractors since many references, where Contracting Officers put PPQ completion requests at the bottom of their to-do list or are bombarded with multiple requests, making it difficult for contractors to get completed PPQs in time for proposal submission.
Evaluation Databases Benefitting Both Sides
While there is a disconnect between the value and the process of obtaining PPQs, the government has been utilizing two databases to keep track of contractor performance – the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) and the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS).
Contracting Officers or project owners can complete evaluations on projects within the databases for future use by evaluating committees. Evaluations in these databases take precedence over requested/completed PPQs. This is beneficial because it saves the contractor time by not having to fill out and request PPQs and saves Contracting Officer’s time by only completing an evaluation once.
Even if the Request for Proposal (RFP) requires completed PPQs, the evaluation criteria generally states that the government checks any or all references to assess owner satisfaction, including CPARS through PPIRS. This means that even if one point of contact (POC) on the project will give your performance an outstanding evaluation on a PPQ, although the CPARS provides conflicting reports, it is likely your past performance will not be rated highly.
The Evaluation of Past Experience and PPQs
Project experience and past performance must be strategically selected to show your most relevant projects with the highest evaluations. Contracting officials can assign any amount of weight or evaluation criteria for past performance on a RFP. However, it is recommended by the government that past performance be rated at least 25 percent of the total evaluation, or at least equal to other non-cost factors. The varying degrees of evaluation gives reason to ensure you choose successfully completed and very relevant projects with high evaluations for submittal. With highly rated evaluations comes future competitive bid and sole sourced awards.
Securing a Strong Relationship with Contracting Officers and Project Owners
CPARS or PPQs, either way, it’s pertinent to realize how important it is to foster a strong working relationship with federal POCs to have opportunities for future project work or task/delivery orders. Their opinion and evaluation can drastically hinder your ability to receive future work, or help your business develop and become successful in the federal market.
Contact Meridian West Consultants for help checking your CPARS, getting those pesky PPQs completed for submission or selecting relevant past experience with highly rated past performance.