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.
No. 1 to OST
Develop and implement procedures to monitor Operating Administrations’ (OA) compliance with the 30-day registration requirement in accordance with the Transportation Acquisition Manual (TAM).
No. 2 to OST
Update the TAM to require that contractor performance assessments be completed within 120 calendar days in accordance with the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) guide.
No. 3 to OST
Develop and implement procedures to ensure those OAs without internal CPARS guidance have them established in compliance with TAM 1242.1503(a)(1).
No. 4 to OST
Update the TAM to require each OA to develop and implement guidance to address turnover in CPARS staff as well as ensure departing personnel complete interim assessments.
No. 5 to OST
Update the TAM to require CPARS role- and function-based training for all users not currently cited, including Alternate Focal Points and Assessing Official Representatives.
No. 6 to OST
Update the TAM to require each OA to develop and implement guidance to assist OA CPARS officials in managing assessment disagreements with contractors.
No. 7 to OST
Adopt a process to conduct periodic assessments to identify shortfalls and projected needs in CPARS training.
No. 8 to FAA
Develop and implement procedures to monitor compliance with the 30-day registration requirement.
Closed on 11.09.2023
No. 9 to FAA
Update the Acquisition Management System to require CPARS training for all personnel who have CPARS responsibilities.
No. 10 to FAA
Conduct an assessment of CPARS user training and develop and implement plans to meet identified needs, including training geared to assisting CPARS officials in developing skills for managing disagreements with contractors.