Evaluating the 'Past Performance' of Federal Contractors: Legal Requirements and Issues [February 5, 2015] [open pdf - 404KB]
"Federal law generally requires agencies to evaluate and document contractor performance on contracts or orders whose value exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold (generally $150,000). The evaluation must generally address the quality of the product or service supplied by the contractor, its efforts to control costs, its timeliness and compliance with schedules, its conduct of management or business relations, its performance in subcontracting with small businesses, and other applicable factors (e.g., tax delinquency). […] Federal law also generally requires agencies to consider contractors' past performance when making source selection decisions in negotiated procurements whose value exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold. In a negotiated procurement, the contract is awarded to the offeror whose proposal represents the 'best value' for the government based on various factors identified in the solicitation. These factors typically must include price and past performance. […] Agencies generally cannot award a contract without determining that the contractor is 'responsible.' While agencies are generally prohibited from repeatedly finding a contractor nonresponsible based upon the same deficient past performance, they may debar or suspend contractors for willful failure to perform under a contract or contracts, or for a history of failure to perform or of unsatisfactory performance of a contract or contracts. Reports alleging that contractors received new contracts or orders despite poor performance under prior ones have recently prompted interest in the role that evaluations of past performance play in contracting, as well as attempts by some Members of Congress and the Obama Administration to strengthen requirements pertaining to performance evaluations."
CRS Report for Congress, R41562
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html