One of the most important factors considered by agencies in negotiated procurements is the past performance of an offeror. In addition to the information that an offeror might provide in response to a solicitation, source selection officials can access the performance evaluations from an offeror’s prior federal contracts. It is important, therefore, for Federal construction contractors to know what information on their past performance is available to procurement officials.
A contractor can review its own performance evaluations on the internet by accessing the Business Partner Network website. and clicking on the link Past Performance Information Retrieval System, PPIRS. [www.ppirs.gov]. The PPIRS is maintained for the government by the Department of the Navy. The Navy requires that, before accessing the system, a senior management representative must register by submitting a Senior Management Access Request Form to the office identified on the form.
In addition, before accessing the PPIRS a contractor must not only be registered with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), [www.ccr.gov] but also must have created a Marketing Partner Identification Number (MPIN) in its CCR profile. Instructions on creating an MPIN are available on the CCR website.
As everyone who has dealings with the federal government is learning, access to government information is becoming more difficult, particularly information from the Department of Defense. Obtaining the past performance information on your federal contracts is no exception. As of November 1, 2006, contractors must also have a valid DoD PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) certificate. For most federal construction contractors, this certificate must be obtained from an External Certificate Authority (ECA). The approved ECA vendors for the Department of Defense are VeriSign, Inc. and Operations Research Consultants, Inc.
Recently, we learned from VeriSign that:
As a result of the mandates being enforced by the Department of Defense we are experiencing an exceedingly high volume which has caused our processing time to be delayed to approximately six weeks . . .
If you need information on your company’s past performance in a more expeditious manner, we suggest that the contracting office of the agency for whom the work was performed be contacted and that they be requested to forward a copy of the performance evaluation report. As a last resort, a Freedom of Information request could be filed with the agency’s FOIA officer requesting copies. Obtaining past performance information using either of these methods could be burdensome in situations where the contractor has performed many contracts for different agencies.