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NIH To Monitor Contractor Performance

NIH has created a new contractor performance system that has won kudos from acquisitions personnel both here and within HHS. A 1994 law conceded that it is both "appropriate and relevant for the federal government to consider a contractor's past performance in evaluating whether that contractor should receive future government work."

The assessment of a contractor's past performance shifts the focus from an award made on the basis of lowest price to one based on performance. In the past, an offeror's relative strengths and weaknesses were compared during the source selection phase of a contract award as the government evaluated a contractor's technical and business proposals. These proposals were frequently complex. Use of past performance evaluations in awarding contracts is expected to ease both the contractor's proposal preparation and the government's evaluation of these proposals.

Further, as contractors realize the emphasis placed on their performance, they'll have added incentive to maintain high levels of performance. Poor performance will prevent a contract from being awarded. Contracts will no longer be automatically awarded to low bids.

The contractor performance system, which became available Dec. 11, is accessible either by network or by the NIH Parachute dial-in feature. This spring, the system will open up to other government agency contracting personnel and become a repository of contractor "report cards."

For more information contact Phyllis Donoghue, 6-1783, or email

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