I just reported in a CIB on a proposed FAR regulation which addresses documenting contractor performance evaluations. The proposed regulation (comments are due by September 8, 2011) provides that agency evaluations of contractor performance, including both negative and positive information, must be provided the contractor "as soon as practicable" after completion. Contractors are given 30 days to submit comments, rebutting statements or additional information to the agency. Agencies then kick the package to a level higher than the contracting officer for the final agency decision. The evaluation file may then be used in source selection decisions.
This seems more than a little unfair in the case of negative evaluations. It's a little like the fox guarding the hen house. Sure, it's too time consuming and expensive to provide for complete judicial review of disputed performance evaluations. But it does seem as though a bit more due process is in order when so much is at stake. It's a little like getting negative points on your driver's license without the opportunity to contest the ticket. We need at the very least a traffic court judge to take a look at these negative performance evaluations.
So, our comment on the regulation is this: please, let's appoint an impartial contracting person outside the accusing agency to pass judgment on negative performance evaluation disputes. I treat this as one of the many things we need to do to encourage more participation in the industrial manufacturing and services base for government contracts. Competition will be enhanced if we just introduce a little more fairness and impartiality into the procurement process.