CPS Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Contractor Module in the NIH Contractor Performance System (CPS)?

The Contractor Module allows contractors to participate over the Internet in completing government performance evaluations in the NIH CPS.  A Contractor Representative (CR), undergoing performance evaluation, receives notification of an evaluation via e-mail.  The CR then accesses the evaluation, reviews, and submits comments (if required) via the Internet.   The automated review process includes interaction between the CR and the Contracting Officer (CO) as well as between the government Project Officer (PO)/COTR and the CO.  Once the evaluation is finalized, it is set into the CPS as “Completed” and is available for all government personnel to review in the Federal contract award process.  The CR receives electronic access to the “Completed” evaluation.

 What must the contractor do to participate?

 How is the contractor notified that an evaluation is pending for review? 

The CPS generates e-mail automatically when the CO refers an evaluation in progress to the CR for review and comment. The e-mail will contain instructions for the CR to login and work on this specific evaluation. Through this e-mail message, the CR will be provided a PIN number to access the evaluation.  Once the evaluation is reviewed and comments submitted for incorporation in the CPS evaluation, the PIN is deactivated.  At the login screen, the CR is asked for their Login ID and Password. A second screen will appear where the CR must enter the PIN (provided from the email notification).

What is the PIN number? 

The PIN is a temporary password issued for a single specific evaluation.  When the evaluation is completed, the PIN is deactivated.  At later stages in the life cycle of an evaluation, a new PIN can be created to allow work on a new evaluation.

What information is required at login to the Contractor Module?

At the login screen, the CR is asked their Login ID and Password. 

What happens if the contractor misplaces the PIN and cannot access the evaluation?

The CR must contact the cognizant CO and request that a new PIN be re-generated. 

The contractor representative is the primary person responsible for reviewing and commenting on the evaluation.  What is the role of the secondary, or alternate, contractor representative?

The secondary (alternate) contractor representative (ACR) is sent an informational e-mail for each evaluation at the same time e-mail is sent to the CR.  The role of the ACR is to alert the cognizant CO when it is perceived that the CR is not able to review and comment within the thirty-day review period.  The CO has the ability to reset the thirty-day clock and/or re-generate a new PIN for a CR.  It is also the responsibility of the ACR to notify the CO if the CR has left the organization. 

How will the contractor know what to do in order to review and comment?

A contractor manual providing step-by-step instructions can be downloaded/printed from the CPS Website: http://cps.od.nih.gov under the hyperlink Contractor User's Manual in the Contractor Information Column.

 What happens if a contractor does not have Internet access?       

Contractors without Internet access will continue to receive the performance evaluations as in the past - U.S. mail. 

 Will the contractor have unlimited access to the In Progress Evaluations?

The CR has access to the specifically assigned evaluation for the duration of the assigned task (review and comment) for a 30 day period.   During the time the CR has access to the evaluation, the CR can access the evaluation indefinitely. When the task ends, (the CR submits the comments for incorporation into the evaluation), the access ends and the PIN is deactivated.  The CR has the ability to save the evaluation in “draft” mode until ready to actually submit the comments to the CPS.  This allows the work to be completed with deliberation in multiple steps.

 Will the contractor have unlimited access to the Completed Evaluations?

Currently, the CR has one-time access to the completed evaluations.  The CR has thirty days to view and make comments on the report. At day thirty-one the access will be revoked.

How long does the contractor have to review the In Progress Evaluation?

Electronic Process:  The CR has thirty (30)- days to submit comments (FAR 42.15).  The CPS starts counting the days from the date the first e-mail on an evaluation is sent to the CR.  If no comments are received during that thirty day period, the CPS will automatically set the evaluation to “Completed@ status and will incorporate a statement to the effect that Ano comments were received within the thirty day time limit”.  If the CR cannot complete the review in thirty days, the cognizant CO must be notified in order to reset the thirty day clock or extend the review period.

Manual Process:  The CR has thirty (30) days to submit comments (FAR 42.15).  The CPS starts counting the days from the date the evaluation is sent to the CR.  However, the CPS will NOT automatically set the evaluation to Completed” status.  The CO must intercede in the non-electronic process.  The contractor module expects comments to be entered.  The CO, acting for the CR, must then enter the contractor=s comments him/herself.  Once this is done, the evaluation is submitted and set into the database as Completed”.

Can a contractor print out a report?

Yes.  All reports may be printed using the Print function of the Internet browser. 

 What happens if the contractor disagrees with the evaluation and cannot come to agreement with the CO?

Once the CO has determined that no agreement can be reached, the CO may provide the reviewing official (Agency Reviewer) read-only access to the performance evaluation.  The reviewing official is able to review both the CR and government comments on the same screen.  Once the reviewing official has made a determination, he/she contacts the CO.  The CO is then responsible for revising the comments as directed by the reviewing official.  The CO has the capability to electronically send the evaluation back to the CR for any revision that need to be made at the contractor end. The CR is provided a copy of the “Completed@ evaluation.

Can the CO change the evaluation while the contractor is reviewing it?

The evaluation is “Locked” to the CO from the time the e-mail is sent until the CR submits comments to the database.  This means that the government’s comments cannot be altered in any way while the contractor is reviewing the evaluation.

 Who can change the contractor’s comments? 

When the CR submits comments into the CPS electronically, only the CR may change those comments.  Once the CR comments are reviewed by the CO, and after discussion with the PO/COTR and the CR, the CO may provide the CR access to the comments for revision. 

When the CR submits a hardcopy (non-electronic) of their comments, the CO, acting as the CR’s agent, must enter those comments into the CPS and must provide the CR a copy of the evaluation with the comments entered.

How does the implementation of the Contractor Module affect the performance evaluation process for the:

Project Officer (PO)/COTR:  Once the CR returns their comments to the CO; the CO can re-assign the evaluation to the PO/COTR for their review.

The PO/COTR will receive e-mail notification when the CR comments are available for review and the PO/COTR will be able to review these comments via the Internet.  However, the comments will be placed in a “read-only” mode.  The CO following discussions with the PO/COTR must make all changes to the government’s comments. 

Contracting Officer:

  • Before submitting the government’s comments to the CPS, the CO must determine whether to:
  • (1) Provide the contractor electronic access, or
  • (2) Act as the contractor’s agent and input the contractor’s comments him/herself (non-electronic).
  • The CO may also provide electronic read-only access of the evaluation to the PO/COTR after the contractor has submitted comments and to the Agency Reviewer when no resolution can be reached between the CO and the contractor on a rating.
  • The CO is responsible for administrative functions such as:  regenerating the CR’s  PIN when  necessary, resetting the thirty-day clock with justification, etc.
  • A NEW Tool is available for CO’s to manage their evaluations:       the Evaluations Status Page indicates the location of every evaluation that is in process.  The CO is able to perform specific functions by clicking on the icon (green or yellow) located in the first column on this page: regenerate PIN, update, etc. 


  • The CR is able to view, submit comments, and print the comments using the Internet while the evaluation is in progress.
  • The CR is able to view and print the completed evaluation when the evaluation process is finished.

What is the reporting period?  The reporting period is the actual period of time that we are evaluating the contractor's performance.  Depending on how often an agency decides to perform these evaluations, the evaluation reporting period could be a year, six months, etc.   Most agencies are doing these evaluations annually on active contracts.  These are the INTERIM reports.  So each year would be a different reporting period.  A FINAL report is one that is done when the contract is completed (expired).  There is a difference of opinion on the reporting period for the Final report.  Some agencies are evaluating the performance for the entire life of the contract and some are evaluating only the last active period of the contract.  The regulations only  identify a need for Interim (contract active) and Final (contract completed) evaluations.  There is nothing to tell us the reporting period for a Final evaluation.

What is the difference between "contractor manager/principal investigator" and "contractor Key person" and contractor representative?   The contractor manager/principal investigator is the person named in the contract as person responsible for managing the contract for the contractor.  The contractor manager is the person in the contractor's shop who is responsible for managing a service and supply contract.  The principal investigator is the person in the contractor's shop who is responsible for managing a research contract.  Contractor Key Persons are those are named in the contract but are not the lead persons responsible for the management of the contract.  A Contractor Representative is the person who will be receiving the evaluation for review/comment.  This could be the contractor manager/principal investigator but it usually is the person in the business office who signed the contract for the contractor. 

What is FINAL and INTERIM reports?

FINAL and INTERIM reportsrefer to the status of the contract, not the status of the evaluation.  A Final report is one that is done after the contract has been completed.  An Interim report is one that is done during the lifetime of the contract.  You may have many Interim reports on a contract and should only have one Final report for that contract.

What is In Progress and Completed reports?

In Progress and Completed reports refer to the status of the evaluation.   An In Progress report is one that has been sent to the contractor for comment (i.e., the evaluation process has not been completed).  No one can see the evaluation while it is In Progress except for the buyer who entered the evaluation in the CPS.   A Completed (finalized) report is one that has been sent to the contractor for review and either the contractor has returned comments or the 30 days has lapsed.  It is set into the CPS as COMPLETED, and all CPS users may see the evaluation and use it for source selection.

How to become a subcriber as an agency?

If your agency has not been a subcriber please contact our CPS help desk for further assisstance.

How to obtain a login to access into the CPS as a Contracting Officer (CO), Project Officer (PO/COTR), Contracting Officer Designee (COD), and Agency Reviewer (AR)?

If you are a Contracting Officer (CO) you need to contact your CPS Organzation Administrator (OA) to obtain a login. Note: Each agency should have at last one or more OA. If you don't know your OA, please contact our CPS help desk for the complete listing.

If you are a Project Officer (PO/COTR), Contracting Officer Designee (COD), and Agency Reviewer then you need to contact your Contracting Officer (CO) to assign you the role(s) and login.

Can training be provided by NIH?

Training can be provided to Contracting Officer (CO) with no cost here at NIH facility or at agency site within DC/Baltimore area; If your agency is outside of the DC/Baltimore area then you will have to pay for the travel costs. For more information about the Training please contact our CPS help desk.

How to re-assign an evaluation from one Contracting Officer (CO) to another Contracting Officer (CO)?

Your Organization Administrator (OA) should has the ability to re-assign an evaluation from one CO to another CO.

How often are evaluations archived in the CPS?

Evaluations in the CPS are archived in compliance with FAR which is 6 years after the data of the report for construction and architech-engineer and 3 years afer contract completion for standard.


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Points of Contact:

Paulette Smith
E-mail: SmithPM@od.nih.gov

Alexander Tran
E-mail: TranA@od.nih.gov

David Redd
E-mail: Reddd@od.nih.gov

CPS help desk E-Mail: cps-support-l@list.nih.gov
PHONE: (301)451-2771