The FAR Council and the Department of Labor have published the final versions of their respective final rule and DOL guidance implementing the President’s July 2014 Executive Order entitled “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces”—EO 13673.

Detractors frequently refer to EO 13673 as the “Blacklisting” or “Bad Actors” Executive Order. The order and the new regulations purport to promote efficiency in government procurement by ensuring that federal agencies contract only with “responsible” contractors that comply with federal and state workplace protection laws.

This objective is already a well-established requirement of the government’s procurement rules. The regulations impose additional administrative burdens on current and future contractors, adding an element of uncertainty to future contract award decisions, but only achieving marginal improvements in workplace law compliance.
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Corrections to the proposed rewrite of FAR 42.1503 reinstate the contractor’s role in past performance evaluations. As published on June 28, 2011, the rewritten FAR provision omitted language from the existing clause that protects the contractor’s interests in the process. As corrected on August 9, the contractor protections have been restored.


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Improving agency assessments of contractor past performance has been a priority since the Government Accountability Office published its 2009 report criticizing the system. A number of new FAR rules can be linked to GAO’s recommendations. For example, GAO pointed to the lack of reporting on default terminations and defective pricing. The FAR has now been amended to require default terminations and defective pricing be reported as part of a contractor’s past performance. See 75 Fed. Reg. 60258 (Sept. 29, 2010) [pdf]. The latest proposed revision to the FAR responds to GAO’s recommendation that there be greater uniformity in past performance reporting. See 76 Fed. Reg. 37704 (June 28, 2011). The proposed rule would revise FAR 42.1503 to include five minimum evaluation factors for which contractors are to be evaluated:  (i) Technical or Quality; (ii) Cost Control (as applicable); (iii) Schedule/Timeliness; (iv) Management or Business Relations; and (v) Small Business Subcontracting (as applicable).  The proposed rule would also impose a uniform ratings scale for use by past performance evaluators. As defined in the CPARS Policy Guide, past performance would have to be described as exceptional, very good, satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory.
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