What must the CO do, and what must he or she consider, when working on a multiple-award task order contract?

COs will draft selection criteria and ordering procedures that will be included in the multiple award solicitation. COs have broad discretion regarding the factors that are relevant to the placement of task orders. When drafting such procedures:

Prior to placing each order, the CO will avoid methods such as allocation that would not result in fair consideration being given to all award-ees. (However, each awardee is usually guaranteed a minimum amount of the work, so it may be necessary to place an order with each participating contractor to satisfy that minimum requirement.)

The CO will allow the use of oral proposals and streamlined ordering procedures. (The placing of orders need not comply with the competition requirements of FAR Part 6.)

The contract's ordering procedures and selection criteria may expressly state that the government need not contact every awardee prior to placing the order. This may be appropriate when:

- The CO has sufficient information to fairly consider every awardee for the order based on selection criteria stated in the contract

- There is an applicable exception under FAR 16.505(b) to the fair consideration requirement (e.g. urgency, past performance information, the prices charged by awardees).

When must a multiple award be made?

The CO must make multiple awards if a contract for advisory and assistance services (refer to Chapter 3, Questions 88 and 89 for more information) would exceed three years and would cost more than $10 million (including options).[1]

When is a single award made?

The CO plans on a single award when it can be demonstrated that a single award is in the best interest of the government for such reasons as the following:

Only one contractor is capable of providing performance at the level of quality required because the deliverable is unique or highly specialized

Market research indicates that the government will get more favorable terms and conditions, including pricing, if a single award is made

The cost of administration of multiple contracts would probably outweigh any potential benefits

Probable tasks are so integrally related that only a single contractor can reasonably perform the work

Estimated value of the contract is less than the simplified acquisition threshold.

What type of contract is used for a single award?

For single awards, a requirements contract, the other type of indefinite delivery type contract, is used.

What are mandatory sources and what type of contract is typically used to acquire services or supplies from these sources?

Task order contracts are also frequently used to acquire supplies or services from mandatory sources in accordance with FAR Part 8. These sources include GSA Federal Supply Schedules, Federal Prisons Industries, Inc. (UNICOR), and the Committee for the Blind and Severely Disabled.

Ordering Officers and Task Monitors

What is ordering officer authority?

If the COR is involved in task order contracting, he or she may be designated an ordering officer by the CO in the letter of designation. Usually, an ordering officer deals with multiple program office personnel using the individual task SOW developed by the program office engineers or project officers. Ordering officers are not involved individually in development of the SOW and administering it under the IDIQ; they function exclusively as the ordering officers for other individuals.

When does the CO delegate ordering officer authority?

The CO should delegate ordering authority only to individuals who have the proper training and ability to properly carry out delegated authority. The key issue for the CO on task order contracts is determining whether he or she should delegate the authority to place orders to CORs or to other ordering officials. This delegation of authority may be possible when the task order contract establishes a fixed price for each task (e.g., $2,000 and travel expenses to conduct each "System Inspection and Operational Report"). Delegating such authority may not be advisable if the task order contract only establishes labor rates and provides for negotiating labor hours and material costs order by order. In such cases, the CO will delegate ordering authority only to personnel trained in cost analysis and negotiation techniques and will usually establish a ceiling amount for each order that may be issued without CO review and approval.

What are task monitors and when does the CO appoint them?

Sometimes the CO will appoint, or allow the COR to appoint, task monitors in situations involving significant (high-cost or complex) task orders. If the COR is involved in such a case, he or she must make sure the task monitor arrangements are set forth in the letter of designation, because these monitors do not have COR authority. Task monitors only assist the COR in monitoring individual tasks; therefore, ultimate responsibility for monitoring the contractor's performance remains with the COR.

  • [1] An option is a unilateral right in a contract by which, for a specified time, the government may increase quantities or extend the term of the contract. (See Chapter 3, Question 74, for further details.)
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