How does the COR respond to contractor requests for information or action?

The COR should make every reasonable effort to respond in writing within 30 days to written requests from contractors regarding contract administration matters. Sometimes, however, depending on the nature of the request, the COR may have to coordinate with the CO. This coordination might delay the COR's response or mean that the CO will need to respond directly to the contractor. In the event of such a delay, the COR should provide the contractor, within 30 days, written notice of the specific date by which either the COR or the CO will respond to the request. (Note: This requirement does not apply to a request for a CO decision under the Contract Disputes Act, which has different response time requirements.)

What kinds of communication does the COR have with subcontractors?

Although an agency has the authority to approve subcontracts prior to contract award, there is no direct link between the agency and the subcontractor (see Figure 1-3). Privity, the legal term that defines the relationship between two parties of a contract, does not exist between the agency and subcontractors. Therefore, the prime contractor is responsible for ensuring, through its own internal processes, that quality work is performed and delivered on time by any subcontractors to meet the objectives of the prime contract.

Formal direction to subcontractors flows only through the prime contractor. There can be simultaneous communication (e.g., the exchange of informational copies of correspondence) between the prime contractor and subcontractors, but the agency and the subcontractor cannot bypass the prime contractor to communicate directly with each other.

What are the requirements for proper documentation of communications?

Effective communication is a wasted effort without good documentation. Without documentation of communications, there is no record of the events of contract performance, and the government is left vulnerable in the event of a claim, dispute, or a last-resort contract termination for default.

Proper documentation:

Is the key to establishing and protecting the government's position in a dispute

Includes written records of all oral communication with the contractor and the CO

Includes copies of all written correspondence with the contractor and the CO.

Meetings and telephone conversations should be documented. Meetings need not be formal "sit-down" meetings with an agenda. A meeting can also be an informal or impromptu gathering to discuss technical issues. Whichever type of meeting the COR attends, formal or informal, he or she must be sure to take notes, include them in the COR file, and provide a copy to the CO, as appropriate.

It is also important for the COR to document telephone conversations. Significant decisions and issues are discussed on the telephone as a normal part of conducting business. Thus, it is important for the COR to keep a record of such decisions and issues as part of the COR file.

What should the COR document?

Documentation is not a complicated process, but it does require organization. The COR should not rely on his or her memory to document events that took place in the past. It is very important to document events as they occur to provide an accurate record for the file.

The COR should prepare memoranda for the record (MFR) of all meetings, trips, and telephone conversations relating to the contract.

Key rules for the COR to remember in maintaining the COR file include:

Note the contract number on each record and on all correspondence relating to the contract

Be sure that the CO receives a copy of all records and other correspondence

Pay utmost attention to restrictions regarding proprietary data, as well as classified and business-sensitive information.

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