Task Order Contracting

What is task order contracting?

Chapter 4 discussed contract types, including the three types of indefinite delivery contracts. One of those was the indefinite quantity contract, commonly referred to as an IDIQ (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity) contract. IDIQ contracts are often used as task order contracts, which are defined by FAR 16.501-1 as contracts for services that do not procure or specify a firm quantity of services (other than a minimum or maximum quantity) and that provide for the issuance of orders for the performance of tasks during the period of the contract. FAR 16.501-1 also defines the delivery order contract similarly, but a delivery order contract is used when procuring supplies instead of services.

What responsibilities will the COR need to carry out when working with task order contracts?

The COR must:

Oversee and coordinate initial efforts regarding preparation of the task order and associated documents

Review and reconcile differences between the task order and the contractor's task cost plan

Understand and be prepared to make recommendations to the CO on single- versus multiple-award issues

Make recommendations to the CO regarding the ordering officer's and task monitor's duties.

Task Order Documentation and Cost Plan

What does the COR do to prepare the task order and associated documents?

The COR must:

Prepare the task order SOW

Prepare the independent cost estimate

Determine whether funding is available

Evaluate the contractor's task plans

Monitor contractor performance under the task order, or assign task monitors as authorized by the CO

Avoid personal services relationships.[1]

The work proposed in the task order must fall clearly within the scope of the contract under which the task order is to be issued.

In addition to reviewing the proposed task order to make sure the work falls within the scope of the contract, the CO will also check to ensure that:

Direct supervision of contractor personnel by government personnel does not transform the contract from non-personal services into a personal services contract (see Chapter 3, Questions 86 and 87)

The direct labor hours proposed are consistent with the work described

The estimated cost appears reasonable

The proposed length of time for performance of the task order appears appropriate.

What is the contractor's task cost plan?

The contractor, on receiving the task order, prepares and submits a task cost plan to the COR, describing how the contractor intends to accomplish the assigned task. The COR provides a copy of the plan to the CO.

What is the COR's role in reviewing the task cost plan?

The COR reviews the task cost plan to determine if the contractor's estimates of hours and dollars needed to accomplish the contract work are consistent with the requirements of the task order. If the task cost plan differs from the task order, the COR prepares, for the CO's approval, a revised task order incorporating the approved task cost plan estimates of hours and dollars and any other required revisions. The COR provides the CO with a copy of the revised task order and task cost plan.

Single- and Multiple-Award Task Order Contracts

What are the differences between single- and multiple-award task order contracts?

IDIQ contracts will usually be awarded to multiple contractors to provide for competition on task orders. Multiple-award task order contracts will require significantly more administrative effort than single-award task order contracts, as there will be not only the initial competition for the contracts, but also a series of selections for the award of individual task orders.

  • [1] A personal services contract is a contract that, by its express terms or as administered, makes the contractor personnel appear to be, in effect, government employees (FAR 37.101; also see FAR 37.104). These contracts are illegal unless specifically authorized by statute.
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