Contractor Performance Assessment Reports (CPARs)

Remember when you were in school, and you received report cards? When companies contract with the Federal Government, they receive a report card called a Contractor Performance Assessment Report (CPAR).

What is a CPAR?

A CPAR assesses a contractor’s performance and provides a record, both positive and negative, about a contract during a specific time period. Each assessment is based on objective facts (metrics) and supported by program and contract management data. The CPAR captures current information on contractor performance that is then made available for use in source selections.

Why is this important for proposal development?

It is very important to understand that this information supports best value source selection decisions to reward proven performers and to motivate contractors to perform. A CPAR provides documentation of a contractor’s ability to provide quality, on-time products and services that conform to contractual requirements and responsibility. The Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) stores the information for 3 years after contract completion.

For additional information, please refer to:

What is the purpose of a CPAR?

A CPAR provides source selection officials with information on a contractor’s past performance. Normally, the Contracting Officer (CO) and Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) prepare the CPARs. Per FAR 15.304, past performance will be evaluated in all source selections for negotiated competitive acquisitions expected to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold.

FAR 42.1502 states that past performance evaluations are to be prepared at least annually and at the time the work under a contract or order is completed. The CPAR is accessible by government personnel with a need to know and by the contractor who is the subject of the assessment. This information is not releasable under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

What is in a CPAR?

The CPAR documents a contractor’s ability to provide quality, on-time products and services that conform to contractual and regulatory requirements. There are six categories that are completed by the CO/COR including:

  • Quality;
  • Schedule;
  • Cost Control;
  • Management;
  • Utilization of Small Business; and
  • Regulatory Compliance.

Utilization of Small Business and Regulatory Compliance may be optional depending on the contract requirements and the contractor.

What does a CPAR look like?

The CPAR is a standard template that the CO/COR completes. CPARs can be good sources for proof points and quotes in your proposals. In the following sanitized CPAR (Exhibit 1), areas that are important to look for are highlighted in yellow to make them easily identifiable.

Exhibit 1. Understanding the CPAR to assess past performance for proposals. Make sure that past performance examples in your proposals have good scores.

Chart out your CPARs for analysis

Look at your experience/past performance examples the way that Source Selection panels will view them as shown in Exhibit 2.


Exhibit 2. Graphical view of CPARs can show trends. CPARs can show evaluators performance trends—both positive and negative

What to do from here?

Be honest and understand that “satisfactory” performance does not win in competitions. Be proactive and document your performance monthly for your customer reviews. You can summarize these reports and provide these as input to the CPAR process. This helps to “manage your manager.”  You may also challenge these assessments, so make sure you have metrics that are mutually agreed upon, and documented, and create an audit trail for your performance.

By Eddie Becker, PMP, CPP APMP, ITILv3, CPCM

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.
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Lohfeld Consulting