June 2, 2014

New Rule Significantly Decreases Contractor Comment Period for Past Performance Evaluations

Arnold & Porter Advisory

Two weeks is not much time to draft and finalize an important document. Two weeks would feel even less adequate if the document is a contractor's primary opportunity to rebut or explain a negative past performance evaluation. But two weeks is now precisely the period of time available to contractors to comment on a negative performance review before the review becomes accessible by all federal procurement personnel. Under a new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule effective July 1, federal contractors will have less than half the time previously provided for commenting on past performance reviews submitted by their government customers. An amendment to FAR 42.1503 has reduced the pre-publication period for contractor comments from 30 calendar days to 14. The new rule unquestionably puts the onus on contractors to be prepared in advance for the drafting and submittal of comments that can mitigate the effects of a negative past performance report.

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