How can the COR anticipate, and therefore most effectively respond to, contractor requests?
Knowing in advance when and what a contractor should be requesting aids in monitoring contractor performance. The COR can:
Identify and chart the contractual terms that allow contractor requests
Identify and chart the government's need to respond to those requests
Identify the contractor's obligations when making a request and the government's responsibilities for responding to that request.
For a listing of possible contractor requests and relevant contract terms, contractor obligations, and the COR's responsibilities as a government representative, see Figure 6-1.
FIGURE 6-1. Possible Contractor Requests/Obligations and Government Responses
Monitoring Contract Performance
Why is careful monitoring of a contractor's performance essential?
When a contract is signed, it is the intent of both parties to perform their respective obligations. However, not all contracts are performed according to specification or other terms and conditions or within the required timeframe. Poor quality of work or deliverables or late deliveries may cause costly delays in the program. The government monitors contract performance closely to ensure that desired end items work as intended and are delivered on time.
What steps are involved in monitoring contractor performance?
Monitoring a contract requires that the COR:
1. Determine what functions need to be monitored
2. Select the techniques used for monitoring
3. Determine how to document monitoring actions
4. Monitor performance under the contract.
Determining What Functions Need to Be Monitored
What monitoring functions are CORs routinely delegated?
CORs often monitor:
Contractor technical and schedule compliance, for both commercial and noncommercial requirements
Costs (in cost-type contracts)
The financial condition of a contractor
The contractor's statutory compliance.
What are commercial requirements?
FAR 2.101 offers a lengthy definition of a commercial item, but in general terms, a commercial item is an item (a requirement) that is customarily used for non-governmental purposes and that has been sold to the general public. The FAR also refers to items that can be modified or tailored in accordance with standard commercial practice to meet the government's requirement. It is the policy of the government in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) to acquire commercial items to the maximum extent practicable.
What is involved in monitoring technical compliance for commercial requirements?
Contracts for commercial items rely on a contractor's existing quality assurance system as a substitute for government monitoring, inspection, and testing. Customary market practices for the requirement may, however, permit a buyer's (the government) in-process monitoring and inspection. Any government in-process inspection must be conducted in a manner consistent with commercial practice; if in-process inspections are a customary commercial practice for requirements outlined in the contract, then the government may conduct them. For example, when it is determined through market research that commercial firms that buy airplane generators typically perform in-process inspections during production of those generators, the government may include the same practices in its contracts for airplane generators.
What are noncommercial requirements?
Noncommercial items (requirements) are those that do not meet the definition of a commercial item, i.e., they are items that must be provided in accordance with unique government specifications or statements of work.