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FAR 15.305 says past performance is indicator of an offeror’s ability to perform the contract successfully.  This suggests that there may be other indicators.

If a RFP uses past performance as an evaluation factor, not a broader factor of "indicators of ability to perform", would it withstand a protest seeking to have the RFP re-written to allow other indicators of ability to perform?  The argument is that the evaluation factor is unreasonably narrow.

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There are several organizations that use "past performance" and price as evaluation factors. Some use a tradeoff. Others use a phased approach where they look for the lowest reasonably price offer from a firm with "exceptional" or similar past performance (like "substantial confidence", etc.) There are past discussion threads in this forum about those approaches. They have withstood protests. 

Yes, there can be other indicators, which might or might not be of interest to an organization for a type of acquisition. 

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Unless the past performance evaluation factor is somehow flawed itself, I don't think use of the factor itself could be found to be inproper.  In fact the FAR requires use of the factor for certain procurements (FAR 15.304(c)(3)).  Also, I wouldn't consider "indicators of ability to perform" to be a factor itself uless it were better defined.  In my opinion the phrase "indicators of ability to perform" is simply stating that past performance is only one indicator of the ability to successfully perform work under a contract.  Other indictators include, but are not limited to experience, key personnel, quality, management capability, personnel qualifications, and technical approach.  Typically, factors such as these are combined with past performance.  Evaluation of a proposal against these factors help the Government ascertain the likelihood of successful performance.

It should also be noted that agencies have broad discretion in establishing evaluation criteria so long as it complies with the minimum requirements of the FAR.

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On 4/15/2017 at 4:19 PM, rsenn said:

If a RFP uses past performance as an evaluation factor, not a broader factor of "indicators of ability to perform", would it withstand a protest seeking to have the RFP re-written to allow other indicators of ability to perform?  The argument is that the evaluation factor is unreasonably narrow.

Before their more recent methods described in links above, the Air Force used a method called "Past Performance - Price Tradeoff" or "PPT" for several years on (at least) construction projects under Part 15 source selections.  

They might still be using it. I don't know.  There don't seem to be any AF posters in the Forum who have joined in on previous discussions concerning AF source selection processes but if there are, perhaps they will chime in on their experiences with PPT. 

You are free to search for GAO protest decisions on acquisitions that used that methodology. 

I'm guessing that they have begun using the method described in the link above to simplify the SS evaluation process. 

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Deleted oops thought I was texting my wife about my flight.    

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On 4/15/2017 at 2:19 PM, rsenn said:

If a RFP uses past performance as an evaluation factor, not a broader factor of "indicators of ability to perform", would it withstand a protest seeking to have the RFP re-written to allow other indicators of ability to perform?

Yes.  Emax Financial & Real Estate Advisory Services, LLC, B-408260, 2013 CPD ¶ 180: "The choice of evaluation factors that apply to an acquisition, and their relative importance, are within the broad discretion of the agency. American Med. Info. Servs., B–288627, Nov. 7, 2001, 2001 CPD ¶188 at 2."

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