What are standards of performance? Why are they important?

The standards of performance found in FAR 1.102-2 apply to all acquisition officialscontracting officers and specialists, purchasing agents, CORs, program managers, technical evaluators, quality assurance specialists, and logisticians. All members of the acquisition team (see FAR 1.102-3) should always have the following standards in mind when performing any specific acquisition-related function, duty, or task:

1. Satisfy the customer in terms of cost, quality, and timeliness of the delivered product or service

2. Minimize administrative operating costs

3. Conduct business with integrity, fairness, and openness

4. Fulfill public policy objectives.

What are some strategies that the acquisition team can use to meet these standards of performance?

The acquisition team should:

1. Shift the focus from "risk avoidance" to "risk management." The costs of eliminating all risk would be prohibitive. The team should use its professional judgment to take action to manage individual risks.

2. Forecast requirements and develop long-range plans for accomplishing them. The extent of planning should be commensurate with the size and nature of the acquisition. The team should be flexible in accommodating changes in mission needs.

3. Team with other participants in the acquisition process. Participants include representatives of the technical, supply, and procurement communities and their customers and suppliers.

4. Empower participants to make decisions within their area of responsibility. Delegate the authority to make decisions (and accountability for the decisions) to the lowest level possible in the organizational structureat the working level as opposed to the headquarters level, for example.

5. Encourage innovation and local adaptation. Assume that any strategy, practice, policy, or procedure is a permissible exercise of authority if it is in the best interests of the government, and it is not prohibited by the FAR, law (statutory or case law), executive order, or other regulation.

6. Communicate with the commercial sector as early as possible in the acquisition cycle. Communication can help acquisition officials become aware and take advantage of the production and delivery capabilities available in the commercial marketplace. Maximize the use of commercial products and services in meeting government requirements.

7. Foster cooperative relationships between the government and its contractors. Keep the government's overriding responsibility to the taxpayers in mind. Select contractors who have a track record of successful past performance or who demonstrate a current superior ability to perform.

8. Promote competition. Competition is beneficial for the following reasons:

It helps build and maintain a base of responsible suppliers that can provide better supplies and services at lower cost

It encourages those suppliers to innovate and assist the government in accomplishing its mission more effectively and efficiently

It broadens the industrial and mobilization base in the event of a need to rapidly build up the armed forces.


The COR must understand and comply with all applicable ethical principles and procurement integrity requirements.

What ethical principles apply to the COR, and why are these principles important?

First, it is important to understand the distinction between ethics and compliance. One should practice ethical behavior; one must act in compliance with established regulations. Because the COR is also the government's representative or liaison with contractors, it is important that his or her actions, actual and perceived, reflect well on government procurement personnel. Merely doing what the law requires may not be sufficient to give the impression of honest and fair conduct. Sensitivity toward the ethics of a given situation is essential for the COR.

Ethical standards are the cornerstone of every business relationship. These standards protect all the parties involved in business transactions and ensure that the parties have a "level playing field" on which to strive for their objectives.

The fundamental objective of all government procurement professionals is to protect the interests of the federal government by spending its money wisely. CORs must be prepared to account for the actions they take in pursuit of this objective. Thus, CORs must make ethics and procurement integrity rules a part of their daily professional lives. They must not hesitate to apply established ethical standards to every action.

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