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Oversight of Contractor Performance Information

THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL AND CONTRACTING OVERSIGHT ON OVERSIGHT OF CONTRACTOR PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

March 6, 2014


Introduction
Good morning, Chairwoman McCaskill, Ranking Member Johnson, and the honorable members of the Subcommittee.  My name is Kevin Youel Page, and I am the Assistant Commissioner for the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Integrated Award Environment (IAE).  I started working for GSA in September 2011 as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Integrated Technology Service, and have been Assistant Commissioner for IAE since July 2013, where I am responsible for the Federal Government’s shared past performance systems.

Before coming to GSA, I was the Deputy Senior Procurement Executive at the Department of the Treasury, and spent nearly two years as the Director of the Procurement Services Division at the Department of Treasury headquarters.  In both roles, I was a consumer of past performance information, generated past performance reports, and worked to improve Treasury’s use of past performance data and systems.

I appreciate the opportunity to appear here today to discuss GSA’s role in managing Federal contractor past performance systems and information.

Integrated Award Environment
Contractor past performance systems are a part of the broader IAE, which was created as a Presidential eGov initiative under the E-Government Act of 2002 to streamline and unify the Federal award process for Government and non-government participants in the grants, loans and contracting communities.  GSA, with high levels of engagement and oversight from our Federal partners, has managed IAE’s consolidation of award systems that were previously dispersed and replicated across the Government.  Since 2002, we have adapted, upgraded, and migrated the Federal Government to shared services built around existing and new applications.

The development of a consolidated award system, by its nature, is iterative.  To ensure that each piece is developed to meet all Federal requirements and user needs, GSA works closely with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) and the inter-agency governance bodies of the Award Committee for eGov (ACE), and coordinates with information technology operations project managers and other stakeholder communities


IAE’s main goal, in concert with our governance and oversight bodies, is to evolve the existing shared portfolio of ten systems into a user-centric, open source, secure, common services platform that will improve operations for those who award and administer contracts or grants.  This work will enable the Government to be more efficient, reduce the burden on the communities we serve, and provide more transparent Federal award information to continuously monitor and improve Federal award management.

Past Performance Systems
GSA serves as the executive agent for the management of all Government-wide award systems, including, through interagency cooperation, the contractor past performance information systems. The United States Navy operates: Past Performance Information Retrieval Systems (PPIRS), Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) (with modules for Architect-Engineer Contract Administration Support System (ACASS) and Construction Contract Administration Support System (CCASS)), and Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS).  Since past performance systems (PPIRS and CPARS) were initially developed and operated by the Navy, GSA chose to leverage Navy's expertise and operational know-how by establishing a relationship with Navy wherein Navy operates the individual systems and GSA manages past performance systems as a whole for the Government.

Prior to the creation of these systems, individual agencies maintained their own systems to track past performance, with little ability to share information among Federal partners.  This was duplicative, inefficient, and gave agency contracting officers no practical ability to ensure they had a comprehensive view of a contractor’s past performance.  Recognizing this challenge, in 2002, PPIRS was developed to give source selection officials a "one-stop shop" for retrieving potential suppliers’ past performance history.  PPIRS is a web-enabled, enterprise application that allows the Federal acquisition community to retrieve contractor performance information for use in making source selection decisions.

Once PPIRS was designated as the single, Government-wide system for accessing contractor past performance information, GSA’s efforts turned to consolidating the systems used by contracting officers to input this information.  Between 2002 and 2010, agencies used and then sunset nine separate input systems, each with its own contractor rating criteria.  The different rating criteria made the comparison of past performance data challenging.  To address this, in 2010, CPARS became the Government-wide system for entering contractor past performance information into PPIRS.  CPARS is a suite of web-enabled applications that are used to document contractor and grantee performance information that is required by Federal regulations, in a standardized way.  To date, over 340,000 completed contractor performance evaluations have been completed in CPARS, and over 2 million PPIRS records have been reviewed by Government users in source selections1.

While much progress has been made in consolidating and improving the past performance information systems, additional efforts are underway to make these systems more effective and user-friendly.  In June, 2014, the three systems used to input contractor past performance information (CPARS, ACASS, and CCASS) will be merged into a single application under the CPARS name.  This merger will implement GAO’s recommendation2 to standardize evaluation factors and rating scales Government-wide.  Consolidating these three systems will also improve usability by creating a common workflow process and a standardized set of rating elements and will reduce duplication of effort and system life-cycle cost.

FAPIIS
The Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 (Public Law 110-417) mandated the creation of a new system, FAPIIS, to display information regarding the integrity and performance of certain persons awarded Federal agency contracts and grants.  In order to reduce the cost of this new system and the burden on Government users, FAPIIS was integrated into our existing contractor past performance information systems. Government officials upload relevant contractor information regarding misconduct including Administrative Agreements and Terminations for Cause into FAPIIS.In March 2010, FAPIIS was deployed.  It displays contractor criminal convictions; certain civil judgments and administrative findings of fault; certain compromises or agreements that settle criminal, civil, or administrative proceedings; ineligibility due to suspension or debarment; administrative agreements issued in lieu of suspension or debarment; non-responsibility determinations; contracts and grants terminated for default; defective pricing determinations; and past performance evaluations.

The publicly accessible component of FAPIIS, which includes all of the above information except past performance evaluations, was deployed in April, 2011.  Nearly 1,800 records related to performance integrity have been uploaded since FAPIIS’ inception3.  

To ensure that all the members of the acquisition workforce understand their unique role in assessing and evaluating contractors, the Federal Acquisition Institute and the Defense Acquisition University have made a number of courses available on how to use past performance systems, and these are available at www.cpars.gov and www.ppirs.gov. These web sites also include policy information, guidance, and other useful tools.  Additionally, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) has been amended to require acquisition personnel to enter applicable information into FAPIIS.

Next Steps
GSA and the Navy are currently working with the award community to make further enhancements for the collection and display of contractor performance information.  These enhancements will consolidate and simplify the process used to collect performance evaluations, enhance the system so that performance evaluations can be shared faster with source selection officials, add search features that will allow contracting officials to narrow information displayed to reports that are most relevant, develop a capability to display all reports available on an entity in one location, and create the capability for users to run more reports that meet their needs. This consolidation effort is going on in tandem with a multi-year, inter-agency effort to consolidate all IAE systems into the System for Award Management (SAM). The past performance functionalities are being brought into SAM based on functional capabilities and technical requirements.
Chairwoman McCaskill, Ranking Member Johnson and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss IAE’s contractor performance systems.  I am happy to answer any questions you and the committee may have.  Thank you.

 

Appendix A

CPARS Records*
Number of Completed Reports** 341,218
Number of Overdue Reports 61,424
Number of Registered Contracts** 292,281
CPARS System Effectiveness
Number of Government users 79,271
Percentage of Government Assessing Officials Rating the Process Effective 92%
Number of Contractor users 69,361
Percentage of Contractors Rating the Process Effective 98%
Percentage of System Availability 99.9%
Average Help Desk Resolution Time 0.3 days
PPIRS Records*
Number of Assessments - Department of Defense 23,800
Number of Assessments - Civilian Agencies 11,121
Number of Assessments retrieved by Government Users 2,053,451
Number of Assessments retrieved by Contractor Users 388,373
PPIRS System Effectiveness
Percentage of System Availability 99.9%
Average Help Desk Resolution Time 0.3 days
FAPIIS Records*
Number of Records 1,791
§  Administrative Agreement 109
§  Defective Pricing 1
§  DoD Determination of Contractor Fault 1
§  Non-Responsibility Determination 47<
§  Termination for Cause 720
§  Termination for Default 913
FAPIIS Effectiveness
Percentage of System Availability 99.9%
Average Help Desk Resolution Time 0.3 days

Notes:

*Calculations as of: 02/13/14

**Completed Reports and Registered Contracts include archived evaluations

 

Appendix B

System Acronym Brief Description
System for Award Management SAM Consolidated system incorporating the legacy functionalities of the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA), Excluded Parties List System (EPLS), and FedReg
FedBizOps FBO Government Point of Entry for posting opportunities
Federal Procurement Data System FPDS-NG Electronic repository for all Federal procurement spend
Wage Determination OnLine WDOL Site housing the consolidated, current wage determinations
Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System FAPIIS Database to track contractor misconduct and performance
Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System CPARS Suite of applications used to document contractor and grantee performance information
Past Performance Information Retrieval PPIRS System for contracting professionals to retrieve contractor performance information
Electronic Contracting Reporting System ESRS System for prime contractors to report accomplishments toward subcontracting goals
FFATA Subaward Reporting System FSRS System to collect subcontract and sub-grant award information in compliance with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA).
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance CFDA Full listing of all Federal assistance programs available

 

1 See Appendix A for additional statistics on CPARS and PPIRS.

2 April 2009 GAO report (GAO-09-374), Federal Contractors: Better Performance Information Needed to Support Agency Contract Award Decisions is available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09374.pdf.

3 See Appendix A for additional statistics on FAPIIS


Congressional Testimony