March 15, 2023
DOT Faces Challenges in Meeting Federal CPARS Reporting Guidance
What We Looked At
The Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) is the official Governmentwide source for entering information on the past performance of Federal contractors. The assessments reported in CPARS can help provide a balanced view of contractor performance and give source selection officials valuable information to consider when making award decisions. This information is particularly important when officials need to make award decisions quickly, such as when responding during natural disasters or to the COVID-19 global pandemic and implementing new legislative requirements with short suspense dates. However, various reports issued by the Government Accountability Office have highlighted the lack of contractor performance information as an ongoing issue in the Federal Government. In addition, a 2017 Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit found significant shortfalls in DoD’s contractor performance reporting. Given these issues, we initiated this audit to assess the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) compliance with requirements for reporting contractors’ past performance information.
What We Found
DOT faces challenges in meeting Federal CPARS reporting guidance for the system’s registration and assessment deadlines. Specifically, Operating Administration officials assigned CPARS responsibilities frequently did not register contracts within 30 days of the award or complete contractor performance assessments within 120 days after the period of performance ended, as recommended. Overall, DOT’s ability to meet its CPARS timeframes is impacted by insufficient departmental oversight and guidance, other priorities and staffing issues, disagreements over contractor assessments, and inadequate training. Until the Department addresses these issues, DOT cannot ensure it is in compliance with CPARS guidance for reporting contractors’ past performance information. Also, source selection officials—looking to initiate new procurement actions—may question the value of or may not have the CPARS assessments they need to make timely award decisions.
We made 10 recommendations to improve DOT’s compliance with requirements for reporting contractors’ past performance information. DOT concurred with all 10 recommendations and provided appropriate planned actions and completion dates. We consider all recommendations as resolved but open pending completion of the planned actions.