Ask many government contractors, and they’ll tell you that even a single negative report in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System can have a powerful adverse impact on winning future prime contracts.
Given the importance of these performance reports, it’s little wonder that a contractor on the receiving end of a negative CPAR may want to ask a judge to review the matter. But as one recent case demonstrates, a contractor cannot challenge a CPAR with a judge until the contractor has followed the FAR’s claims process.
Resolving a protest challenging a past performance evaluation, GAO is deferential to the agency’s determinations. It is primarily concerned with whether the evaluation was conducted fairly and in accordance with the solicitation’s evaluation criteria; if so, GAO will not second-guess the agency’s assessment of the relevance or merit of an offeror’s performance history.
For protesters, therefore, challenging an agency’s past performance evaluation can be difficult. But a recent decision makes clear this task is not impossible—GAO will sustain a protest challenging a past performance evaluation if the agency treats offerors differently or unfairly, such as by more broadly reviewing the awardee’s CPARs than the CPARs of the protester.
A contractor’s attempt to challenge an adverse Contractor Performance Assessment Report was not a bid protest subject to the bid protest jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
In a recent decision, the Court rejected a protester’s creative attempt to challenge a CPAR as part of a bid protest. Instead, the Court held, a CPAR ordinarily must be challenged through the FAR’s claims and appeals processes–although the Court appeared to leave the door open to bid protest challenges in limited circumstances.