A proposed rule issued by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on June 28, 2011 proposes to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) to provide a single set of standards for contract officers reviewing contractor past performance. In 2010, agencies were required to transition their various information systems for storing performance reviews into the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (“CPARS”), which would serve as a single performance feeder system governmentwide. Now, regulators seeks to continue implementing streamlining procedures by standardizing the evaluation factors and rating scales in past performance reviews.

The proposed changes stem from a 2009 Government Accountability Office report on the need for better performance information in making contract award decisions. The basis for the proposed rule also gained momentum with the issuance of an Office of Federal Procurement Policy memorandum concerning strategies for improving the assessment of contractor past performance.

Under the proposed rule, regulators plan to implement a five-point scale to standardize the contractor past performance evaluation process. In particular, contractors will be evaluated based on rating definitions found in CPARS guidance that range from exceptional to unsatisfactory. All evaluations are intended be tailored to the contract type, size, content, and complexity of contractual requirements.

According to regulators, while the proposed rule may be new, it only intends to codify in the FAR existing guidelines and practices, Further, the proposed language for the amended FAR provisions is language already used by Federal agencies. Contractors interested in commenting on the proposed rule must submit their comments by August 29, 2011.