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Dating back to the introduction of PPIRS in 2002, the total number of CPARs has continually risen as the Government has realized the importance of collecting and using Past Performance information to award Government contracts. If we take a closer look at the past few years, there have been a few clues that provided a pre-warning that things were moving exponentially. The following provides some of the reasons for this dramatic increase in CPARs:

Taking a look at a year over year comparison of the total number of completed contractor report cards (CPARs) in PPIRS something big just happened. Exhibit 1 clearly shows a significant uptrend in the number of CPARs available in PPIRS from 2008 through 2013. But, as you can see, the number of completed CPARs available in PPIRS exploded in 2014. Not only did the number of CPARS go up more than 111% in a one year period, but as Exhibit 2 shows, they added 371% more than in 2013 and 69% more than were added in the previous 5 years (2008 – 2013) combined!

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This is a significant increase in the number of CPARs available for the Government to use to award Government contracts. It is worth taking a closer look to see why and how this happened, and what this means to the contracting community.

Most companies that I have worked with use a mix of re-active and PROactive PPM methods. At first, most companies lean more towards the re-active side. Once you figure out where you stand, and understand the important and benefits of PROactive PPM you will want to prepare for what is to come in the future.

Can your company afford to lose proposal efforts for the next 3 years?

One of my favorite quotes came from someone that said the following when asked if they track their performance data in PPIRS, “I will worry about that when we lose a deal because of it.” While taken at face value, that statement seems to be a “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach. But the problem is that if you lose a deal because of poor performance ratings, you will now be dealing with that data for the next 3 years!  Can you afford to potentially lose for the next 3 years? If so, continue with business as usual…if not, consider implementing a PROactive PPM program in your company.

​Click here for More UPLLC CPARs and PPM Articles.

 We will be adding articles to this site as time permits. The next article in the series includes the 2016 CPAR Updates & PPM Presentation:

Exhibit 1 - The Federal Government is Getting Serious about Tracking Contractor Performance. The total number of CPARS available in PPIRS more than doubled in 2014 exploding from 190k to more than 400k last year.(as of 10/31 of each year)

Exhibit 2 - In 2014, the Government added 371% more CPARs than in 2013and 69% more than they added in the previous 5 years combined!

CPARS Doubled in 2014! Who Cares? What does this mean?

Past Performance Management (PPM) for Future Success! In this series of articles, Rob Muzzio presents an in-depth look at what contractors need to know to optimize their potential for success in the Federal Government contracting arena. Rob’s goals are to spread the word about the importance of PPM and get the industry and Government talking to share ideas to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the collection and use of accurate and relevant contractor performance data and thereby achieve better outcomes for the Government, taxpayers, and contractors. Win-Win-Win!

Author: Rob Muzzio, a member of the 1992 U.S Olympic Team, has been supporting Federal Government proposal development through proposal writing and management consulting in the Washington DC Metro area for more than 19 years. By dedicating his career to business development for Government contractors and studying applicable Government policies, Rob has developed expertise working with Government performance ratings systems including: Contractor Performance Assessment Report (CPARs), the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS), and Open Ratings performance reports. He has used this expertise and his Olympian work ethic to help companies win more than $14.7B in Federal Government contracts and earn the highest and most accurate performance ratings possible. He initially unveiled the basics on this subject at the 2013 Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) National Capital Area Proposal Conference where it was well received by attendees.

If you have a contract with the GSA, DoD, NASA, or any Federal agency, your chances have doubled that your performance is being monitored through the Government's Contractor Performance Assessment Report System (CPARS). In 2014, the number of Government report cards available on contractor performance more than doubled from the number available in 2013. The big question you need to ask is, “So What?”….”What does this mean to me?”

How did this happen?

  • Increased Government Awareness about the Importance of Past Performance and the Failure to Capture the Information – As the Federal Government budget continued to increase year after year the Government was looking for ways to get more for the money. As they dug into Federal spending they found that there were billions of dollars spent on contractors that had poor past performance for the work they were awarded. In 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent a report to Congress, titled, “FEDERAL CONTRACTORS: Better Performance Information Needed to Support Agency Contract Award Decisions”. In this report initiated in 2007, the GAO laid out the fact that 5 years after the implementation of PPIRS to capture Past Performance information, “agencies were renewing or awarding contracts to contractors with questionable performance records.” Why? Because of lack of standardization in the ratings systems (information was hard to use) and missing data! Slowly but surely the Federal Government continued to push for more Past Performance data and implemented changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) mandating the use of CPARS to standardize ratings. (I will provide more details about what and how this happened in the next article.)
  • Goal Setting and Holding Agencies Accountable - Recognizing that agencies were not complying with the FAR the White House, in March of 2013, published a memorandum titled, “Improving the Collection and Use of Information about Contractor Performance and Integrity.” In it, they published the “Government-wide Annual Reporting Performance Targets” for 2013, 2014, and 2015.  For 2015, the target was set 100% compliance for all agencies. They also held agencies accountable for their efforts by requiring initial and quarterly updates through a metrics compliance tool to keep track of how the agencies are doing against the goals.
  • Government Training – In addition to the new CPARS (system) and holding agencies accountable, the Government also implemented training programs to help Government personnel complete the required performance evaluations. For example, the DoD doubled the number of personnel trained and their assessment compliance rose from 56% to 74% from October 2011 to April 2013. Since then, DoD CPAR compliance rose to 83% in June of 2014.

Add these things up with a lot of other publicity, systems changes that include automated email reminders, and demands for action and you can see that they have made a big impact resulting in the major increase in the CPARs available.

Why do we care?

We need to care because, this information is used to help determine whether or not Federal contractors will win Federal contracts. For example, the GSA OASIS RFP (awarded in 2014) used the CPAR ratings available in PPIRS to determine 30% (3,000 of the 10,000) possible evaluation points. By assigning a point value to each CPAR rating area for Quality, Cost, Schedule, Business, and Management then totaling the points, each contractor could determine how many points they would receive.  This is just one example of how Past Performance Information (PPI) is used, but was a huge step for the Federal Government to directly tie CPAR ratings to evaluation points. This now opens the door for other similar evaluations. While the Government tends to move very slowly, it does seem to catch up over time. 

What can you do?

PROactive Versus Re-active PPM. Many companies do not know what performance data the Government has on them in PPIRS. They think they do, but because they do not review and analyze their performance data in PPIRs on a regular basis, they really do not. I have found that many companies do not track the performance data that the Government collects on them, and that there are inaccuracies and errors in their performance data that is available to the Government. As we are experiencing, the Government continues to collect and use this information more and more. This makes an ad-hoc/re-active method of performance management a highly risky approach that will cause big headaches down the road as the Government and public continues to push for the collection and use of this data. The re-active methods of the past will result in unnecessary, inaccurate, misinformed, and less than warranted CPAR ratings that can lead to contract losses down the road. Remember, the CPARs data stays in PPIRS for 3 years. Therefore, ignoring it now will bring much pain in the future. The good news is that moving to a PROactive PPM method is easily remedied.