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GSA FSS User’s Guide
OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (HEALTH AFFAIRS) TRICARE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY PROCUREMENT SUPPORT
 
Updated February 2009

NOTE TO READERS

This guide contains procedures for using and managing orders for commercial items from the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS). The General Services Administration (GSA) enters into contracts with commercial vendors to provide supplies and services at pre-negotiated prices.  Orders are placed directly with the vendor and deliveries are made directly to the customer. Using FSS, federal agencies are able to obtain virtually any commercially available supply or service by choosing from among thousands of vendors. 

This guide is an internal Government document used solely to inform Government personnel of relevant organizational structures, contract administration responsibilities under the GSA Schedules, and procedures relevant to managing orders.  Nothing contained in this guide should be construed, interpreted or advanced as providing or bestowing any rights, privileges, defenses, claims or benefits to any Contractor.  This guide does not supersede, void, cancel or replace any applicable laws, regulations or terms contained in any of the specific Federal Supply Schedule contract.  Applicable laws, regulations and terms contained in the contracts take precedence over any inconsistencies that are contained in or attributed to this guide.

Additional information about the GSA contract is available at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/100000
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
1.0 INTRODUCTION.


1.1 Purpose and Scope of this Guide.

1.2 Authorization to Use GSA FSS.

1.3 TMA Procurement Support (AM&S) Point of Contact

1.4 GSA Order Type.

1.5 Commonly Used GSA Schedules.

1.6 Competition Requirements.

1.7 Preferred Contracting Agencies (PCAs)


2.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITES.


2.1 General Services Administration (GSA)

2.2 Contracting Officer’s Representative for the Task Order

2.3 Acquisition Manager (AM)

2.4 Resource Management (RM)

2.5 Contracting Activity.

2.6 GSA Contractors.


3.0 PHASES IN THE LIFECYCLE OF THE GSA ORDER.


3.1 Phase One. Development and Coordination of the Procurement Package.

3.2 Phase Two. Proposal Evaluation and Award.

3.3 Phase Three. Post-Award Contract Administration.


Guidelines For Users & Managers of the GSA FSS
 
1.0 INTRODUCTION.   
The Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Program, directed and managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), provides federal agencies with a simplified process for obtaining commonly used commercial supplies and services at prices associated with volume buying.  Indefinite delivery contracts are established with commercial vendors to provide supplies and services at stated prices for given periods of time.
 
Using the FSS, federal agencies are able to obtain virtually any commercially available service or supply by choosing among thousands of vendors.  Orders are placed directly with the vendor and deliveries are made directly to the customer.  All federal customers, large or small, even those in remote locations, are provided with the same services, convenience, and pricing.  GSA’s FSS program also benefits the Government by allowing shorter leadtimes, lower administrative costs, and reduced inventories.
 
Users are able to go to the FSS home page and link directly to a list of electronic schedules.  They can search for a specific type of product and service or browse a particular schedule of interest to see which vendors are on it.  With either method, users may then link to the Contractors’ home page and find online information about the established prices for specific products and services.
 
1.1 Purpose and Scope of This Guide. 
This guide provides step-by-step guidelines for a requiring activity to establish an order with GSA’s FSS program Contractors.  Specifically, the guide defines the roles and responsibilities of participants involved in the use, administration, and management of an order issued under the GSA schedule contracts.  The procedures in this guide apply to all TMA non-purchased care requiring activities using GSA FSS contracts.

1.2 Authorization to Use GSA FSS.
The GSA schedules are available for use to all federal agencies.  In order to use these schedules, the following information must be specified in the body of the order:
 
1.2.1 Personal vs. Non-Personal Services.
Personal services are not within the scope of the GSA FSS.  Requiring activities must specifically state, within their task statements, that the services to be procured are not for personal services (as per FAR 37.104).

1.2.2 Inherently Governmental Functions.
Inherently governmental functions may not be procured via contract and are therefore not within the scope of the GSA FSS contracts.  FAR Part 37.102(c) directs that “Agencies shall not award a contract for the performance of an inherently governmental function.”  Requiring activities must specifically state, within their task statements, that the services to be procured are not for inherently governmental functions (as per the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Policy Letter 92-1). 

1.3 TMA Procurement Support (AM&S) Point of Contact.
For additional details on the GSA Schedules or information presented in this guide, contact your AM&S Acquisition Manager (AM):
 
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
TRICARE Management Activity Administration Office
Attn:  TMA Acquisition Management and Support Contract Operations Division-Falls Church AM
5111 Leesburg Pike, Suite 810A
Falls Church, VA  22041-3201
Telephone: (703) 681-1143 / FAX Number: (703) 681-6036
 
1.4 GSA Order Type.
The GSA FSS contracts are specifically designated tools for the purchase of “commercial items.”  Information technology (IT) and support services are considered “commercial items.”  The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires that orders placed against a schedule be purchased on a fixed price basis, however a labor hour (LH) or time and materials (T&M) order would require a Determination and Finding (D&F) by the Contracting Officer.

1.5 Commonly Used GSA Schedules.

A number of commonly used GSA schedules are listed below.  Additional information concerning these schedules is available on the GSA E-Schedule webpage at http://www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/.
  • IT Schedules
  • Management, Organizational, and Business Improvement Services (MOBIS) Schedule
  • Professional Engineering Services (PES) Schedule
  • Applications ‘n Support for Widely-diverse End User Requirements (ANSWER)
1.6 Competition Requirements.
All orders for services exceeding $100,000 must use the procedures at DFARS 208.404-70 in addition to the procedures at FAR 8.404 (b)(7).  These requirements are summarized in the boxes below:
 
Require fair notice to be provided to all contractors offering such products or services under the multiple award contract of the intent to make that procurement;
 
Notice may be provided to fewer than all contractors …  if notice is provided to as many contractors as practicable
  • AND
  • AND
 
OR
offers were received from at least three contractors that can fulfill the work requirement
 
 
  • OR
Afford all such contractors a fair opportunity to make an offer and have that offer fully and fairly considered by the official making the procurement.
 
The contracting officer determines in writing that no additional contractors that can fulfill the work requirements could be identified despite reasonable effort to do so.
 
NOTE:  TMA must identify a strategy that will ensure receipt of at least three quotes.
  
1.7 Preferred Contracting Agencies (PCAs). 
Information on the use of “Preferred Contracting Agencies” can be obtained in the TMA Non-purchased Care Acquisition Desktop Reference Guide which is available on the Acquisition Management and Support (AM&S) section of the TMA web site.
 
2.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITES.
The following Government organizational participants are key to the effective use, administration, and management of the GSA orders:  GSA, the Contracting Officer's Representative for the GSA delivery order, the Acquisition Manager, Resource Management, and the Contracting Activity.  Additionally, this section describes the role and responsibilities of GSA FSS Contractors.  The roles of these organizations are as follows: 

2.1 General Services Administration (GSA).
The GSA enters into contract agreements with commercial vendors.  They obtain fair and reasonable prices and make them available to any federal agency.  The FSS program mirrors commercial buying practices more than any other procurement process in the federal government.  It provides customers with millions of state-of-the-art, high-quality commercial products and related services at volume discount pricing on a direct delivery basis.

2.2 Contracting Officer's Representative for the Task Order.
The Task Order COR (referred to simply as COR throughout the remainder of this document) is a Government official who has been designated specific technical, functional and oversight responsibilities for the task order.  The COR serves as the official point of contact for coordination on the individual delivery order.  The COR will manage the delivery order on a day-to-day basis, will review Contractor performance and deliverables, and will receive and approve all Contractor invoices.  The COR will be required to become certified as a Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR).  Following successful completion of COR training, the COR will be the officially designated COR for the task order.  The COR will interface with the Contractor, the AM, and the Contracting Officer on contract matters.  These responsibilities are inherently governmental in nature.  The duties of every COR will be formally designated in writing by the Contracting Officer in accordance with the FAR and the DFARS.  The COR will be nominated by the requiring activity, but must be approved by the Contracting Officer. 

2.3 Acquisition Manager (AM).
The AM is assigned by the AM&S and serves as the principal advisor to the requiring activity during all acquisition phases.  The AM is responsible for assisting requiring activities in planning, managing, and processing all GSA acquisition actions.  Working in partnership with the COR and the Contracting Officer, the AM ensures that work required of GSA Contractors is properly tasked and executed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the BPAs and the individual order.  The AM serves as a first level resource to the COR in resolving issues on the delivery order. 

2.4 Resource Management (RM).
Resource Management certifies that adequate funding exists to cover the cost of an order, before an order for products or services is placed.  Each requiring activity receives annual funding of a specified amount. 

2.5 Contracting Activity.
AM&S has established PCAs to most efficiently and economically provide contracting services for TMA.  Personnel from the contracting activity review ordering packages to ensure that they are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations before issuing an order to the selected vendor and perform all procurement functions.  The contracting activity is responsible for coordinating the technical and price analysis, performing price analysis, and making the award decision.  The Contracting Officer within the contracting activity is a person with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate orders and make related determinations and findings.

2.6 GSA Contractors.
The GSA Contractors are responsible for preparation of Technical and Price proposals, performance of work in accordance with issued delivery orders, preparation and delivery of Monthly Performance and Progress Reports, and submission of specified deliverables with associated delivery orders.

3.0 PHASES IN THE LIFECYCLE OF THE GSA ORDER.   
There are three major procurement phases involved in using the GSA FSS.
  • Phase One.  Development and Coordination of the Procurement Package
  • Phase Two.  Proposal Evaluation and Award
  • Phase Three.  Post-Award Contract Administration
Each of these procurement phases is described in detail.

3.1 Phase One. Development and Coordination of the Procurement Package.
The procurement package should consist of all documents necessary for the Contracting Officer to solicit proposals and award an order.  The requiring activity should submit one electronic copy of the procurement package to their supporting AM.  The process flow for coordinating and issuing a delivery order is depicted in the Acquisition Package Processing flow diagram; its process elements describe the activities, participants, and anticipated duration. Specific contents of the procurement package are listed below:
PROCUREMENT PACKAGE Contents:
  • COR Certification Memorandum (This memo is used to nominate the COR.)
  • Requirement Document: Performance Work Statement (PWS)/Statement of Objectives (SOO) or Bill of Materials (BOM)
  • Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE)
  • Funding Identification
  • Justification for Exception to Fair Opportunity (if applicable)

  • Evaluation Criteria for Award
  • Suggested Sources (if applicable)
 
3.1.1 Step One.  COR Nomination Memorandum.
The COR nomination memorandum is used by the requiring activity to nominate a COR for each delivery order and must be submitted in the procurement package.  The COR Nomination Memorandum certifies that the nominee has successfully passed an accredited course for COR's and is qualified to act as a COR under this contract and will be available during the base period of the contract.

3.1.2 Step Two. Requirement Document
The requiring activity should try to combine orders for similar tasks or products.  This reduces cost of management and administration for both the Government and the Contractor and may offer cost savings as a result of economies of scale.

a. Equipment/Materials Procurements.  If the requirement is simply for materials or equipment, a Bill of Materials (BOM) may be used.  AM&S has approved a Microsoft Excel BOM template for requiring activity use.
 
b. Services Procurements.  To the maximum extent possible, GSA service procurements should be written as a PWS or SOO.  The PWS/SOO should state the Government’s requirement/objective rather than how to perform the work.  Additionally, as part of the PWS/SOO the requiring activity will need to develop a series of performance metrics.  These metrics will indicate what measure the Government will use to determine whether the Contractor has achieved an acceptable level of performance and is eligible to receive payment.  The PWS/SOO should describe in sufficient detail the desired outcome and provide the Contractor with enough supporting information to reasonably gauge the level of effort required.  The Government should place as few limitations on the Contractor as possible.   It is important to give careful thought to the PWS/SOO for several reasons:
  • The PWS/SOO drives the price proposal from the Contractors.  If it is vague or ambiguous, it may likely result in the Contractor over/under estimating price.
  • A vague or ambiguous PWS can discourage Contractors from proposing or can cause a Contractor to lodge a complaint.
  • Insufficient detail or inappropriate performance metrics may lead to delivery of a product/service that does not meet the Government need, and/or payment for unsatisfactory services.
c. Reserved.

d. Reserved.


3.1.3 Step Three.  Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE).
Based on the requiring activity’s understanding of the requirement, and estimated Level of Effort (LOE) must be prepared.  This should include an estimate of staff hours, grouped by labor category, required to perform the task.  Although the exact job title proposed by the requiring activity may not be listed within the labor categories, a reasonable IGCE should be developed by matching requirements with the general skills and capabilities associated with labor categories. 
The IGCE should consist of estimated cost of labor and cost of equipment, material, travel, supplies, etc.  Using the projected LOE and fully loaded labor rates, the requiring activity can estimate the cost of labor.  The supporting AM can provide the requiring activity with fully loaded labor rates for each of the categories identified.

The IGCE shall also include incidental [1] costs needed to complete the task(s).  These costs are referred to as “Other Direct Costs” (ODCs).  ODCs include such items as hardware, software, travel, supplies, telecommunications, and reproduction costs.  When ODCs in excess of $2,500 are anticipated, the IGCE must show evidence of a market survey (3 quotes) as a basis for the estimated cost.  The requiring activity should provide estimated quantities for each ODC item as well as the reason for the number of trips, destinations, and duration for anticipated travel.  The total of all of the projected labor costs plus ODCs is the IGCE.
AM&S has developed a recommended  IGCE template, guide, and example for users.
The GSA Advantage website allows customers to easily find and compare prices of products and services online.  GSA Advantage contains a powerful search engine that lets you search for products by many different characteristics.  For more information, visit https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advgsa/advantage/main/start_page.do

3.1.4 Step Four. Funding Identification.
Funding should be clearly identified in each procurement package and should be consistent with the IGCE and PWS/SOO.  Funding authorizations can take 3 forms, therefore, the requiring activity should coordinate with their Budget Officer to determine the appropriate Fund Citation and Funding Documentation to include in the procurement package.   

a. Purchase Request Worksheet.  TMA has a prescribed procedure for approval and coordination of a revised purchase request worksheet (PRW) form to reflect a logical staffing sequence and document the responsibility of each PRW signatory.  The revised PRW form has been loaded into the I-BEAMS resource management system.  If funding the requirement with TMA funds, the requiring activity should submit a PRW to the supporting AM as part of the procurement package. 

b. Funding.  If funding the requirement with funds that originate from an external source, use either the electronic Defense Automated Requisition Tracking System (eDARTS) or  Military Interdepartmental Procurement Request (MIPR).
  • Electronic Defense Automated Requisition Tracking System (eDARTS).  eDARTS is an automated system implemented by Headquarters Department of the Army to streamline the acquisition process.  RM uses this internet enabled system to initiate procurement actions for all TMA internal requiring activities.  All requiring activities that use the Contracting Center of Excellence (CCE) (formerly the Defense Contracting Command-Washington) contracting office are required to use eDARTS.  For those organizations external to TMA, contact your supporting AM for more information on eDARTS.
  • Acquiline PRWeb.  PRWeb is an automated system adopted by the US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA).  RM uses this internet enabled system to fund TMA procurement actions with USAMRAA. 
  • Military Interdepartmental Procurement Requests (MIPRS).  All contract offices other than CCE and USAMRAA transfer funds via MIPRs.  Information on MIPRs can be obtained in the TMA Non-purchased Care Acquisition Desktop Reference Guide that is available on the AM&S section of the TMA web site.
3.1.5 Step Five.  Limited Sources Justification and Approval.
IAW with FAR 8.405-1, an ordering activity must survey at least three schedule contractors through GSA Advantage! Or by reviewing their catalogues, prior to placing an order exceeding the micro-purchase threshold for supplies or services not requiring a statement of work.  IAW with FAR 8.405-2, an ordering activity must provide an RFQ (including the statement of work and evaluation criteria) to at least three schedule contractors that offer services that meet the agencies needs, prior to placing an order exceeding the micro-purchase threshold for services requiring a statement of work.  Award to a specific Contractor, or restricting consideration of schedule Contractors to fewer than called for in FAR 8.405-1 or FAR 8.405-2, requires documenting the circumstances for such action by the requiring activity and Contracting Officer.  This documentation must take the form of a formal Limited Source Justification and Approval for actions above the simplified acquisition threshold.   Because the Limited Source Justification and Approval must stand the test of legal scrutiny, it is imperative that it be prepared, approved by reviewing official, and approved by the contracting activity Legal Counsel.  The final approval of the Limited Source Justification and Approval rests with the Contracting Officer.

a. Limited Source Justification and Approval Requirements. The Limited Source Justification and Approval is only acceptable if it meets one of the following requirements, specified in the FAR Part 8.405-6.  The supporting AM will assist the COR nominee in determining if one of these exemptions supports the proposed strategy and in reviewing the justification narrative prior to submission to the contracting activity and legal counsel.   
  • Only one source is capable of responding due to the unique or specialized nature of the work
  • The new work is a logical follow-on to an original Federal Supply Schedule order provided that the original order was placed in accordance with the applicable Federal Supply Schedule ordering procedures. The original order must not have been previously issued under sole source or limited source procedures;
  • The item is peculiar to one manufacturer. A brand name item, whether available on one or more schedule contracts, is an item peculiar to one manufacturer; or
  • An urgency and compelling need exists, and following the ordering procedures would result in unacceptable delays.

b. Limited Source Justification and Approval Information.  The Limited Source Justification and Approval must include the following information as identified in FAR 8.405-6(e)(2):
  • Identification of the agency and the contracting activity, and specific identification of the document as a “Limited Source Justification.”
  • Nature and/or description of the action being approved.
  • A description of the supplies or services required to meet the agency’s needs (including the estimated value).
  • Identification of the justification rationale (see 8.405-6(b)) and, if applicable, a demonstration of the proposed contractor’s unique qualifications to provide the required supply or service.


  • A determination by the ordering activity contracting officer that the order represents the best value consistent with 8.404(d).
  • A description of the market research conducted among schedule holders and the results or a statement of the reason market research was not conducted.
  • Any other facts supporting the justification.
  • A statement of the actions, if any, the agency may take to remove or overcome any barriers that preclude the agency from meeting the requirements of 8.405-1 and 8.405-2 before any subsequent acquisition for the supplies or services is made.
  • The ordering activity contracting officer’s certification that the justification is accurate and complete to the best of the contracting officer’s knowledge and belief.
  • Evidence that any supporting data that is the responsibility of technical or requirements personnel (e.g., verifying the Government’s minimum needs or requirements or other rationale for limited sources) and which form a basis for the justification have been certified as complete and accurate by the technical or requirements personnel.

c. Approval levels for Limited Source Justifications.  Approval levels for Limited Source Justifications are as follows (FAR 6.405-6(f):
  • For orders exceeding the micro-purchase threshold and under the simplified acquisition threshold the ordering activity contracting officer must certify the limited source justification.
  • For orders over the simplified acquisition threshold and under $500,000, the Contracting Officer, with support from the requiring activity, must certify the justification.
  • For orders exceeding $500,000 up to $10 million, the agency competition advocate, head of procuring activity, or senior procurement executive of the agency must approve the justification.
  • For orders exceeding $10 million up to $75 million, the head of the procuring activity or senior procurement executive of the agency must approve the justification.
  • For orders exceeding $75 million, the senior procurement executive must approve the justification.
3.1.6 Step Six.  Evaluation Criteria for Award.
The evaluation criteria to be used MUST be defined in the RFP/RFQ.  Tailor and expand the Evaluation Criteria section of the GSA FSS Task Order Template to be specific to your requirement. 

3.1.7 Step Seven.  Suggested Sources (If applicable).
Unless a justification for exception to fair opportunity is required, a list of  suggested sources must be provided by the requiring activity.  This list should contain a minimum of five suggested sources in order to ensure the receipt of at least three quotes.  If the requirement represents a follow-on to an existing order, the requiring activity should note this in the procurement package.  If the incumbent is not a satisfactory performer and is not necessarily desired as an awardee, the requiring activity should be sure that this is made known to their leadership before the procurement package arrives at AM&S.  Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, incumbents will usually be invited to offer.  

3.2 Phase Two.  Proposal Evaluation and Award.
To ensure an effective evaluation and award, the evaluation criteria must be identified and defined by the requiring activity in the request for proposal/quotes (RFP/RFQ).  The Proposal Evaluation Guide describes the processes and documentation necessary to plan and conduct fair opportunity evaluations.
  
3.2.1 Step One. Proposal Submission.
In order to increase the probability of receiving at least 3 offers, GSA Contractors should be given maximum reasonable time to prepare their proposal.  Factors such as complexity of the requirement should be considered when determining the proposal submission period.  As a minimum, the Contractor should be given 5 business days to develop and submit the Technical and Price Proposals to the Contracting Officer.  Normally, the Technical and Price Proposals are transmitted electronically to the contracting activity. 

3.2.2 Step Two.  Proposal Check-in and Audit.
The Contracting Officer reviews the Contractors’ proposals to ensure that all electronic files have been received without error, and that they are in compliance with the RFP/RFQ requirements.  The Contracting Officer then forwards the Technical and Price Proposals to the supporting AM for review and distribution to the COR nominee and the evaluator(s). 

3.2.3 Step Three.  Proposal Evaluation.
The COR nominee, and any additional independent evaluator(s), perform an evaluation of the technical and price proposals against the evaluation criteria defined in the RFP.  The technical proposal must be evaluated before the price proposal.  The evaluators must ensure that the Contractors have:
  • Responded to all requirements of the PWS/SOO;
  • Provided an acceptable schedule, and
  • Proposed a level of effort that is logical, legitimate, and can be supported by the funding allocated for the requirement.
After completing this evaluation, the evaluator(s) completes the appropriate delivery order evaluation forms as stated in the Proposal Evaluation Guide and forwards the forms to the supporting AM.  If discussions or negotiations of specific technical points or cost elements are required, this shall be documented on the evaluation form and conveyed through the supporting AM to the Contracting Officer.  All proposal discussions with Offerors must include the Contracting Officer.

3.2.4 Step Four.  AM&S Review.
The supporting AM reviews the evaluation forms and, if necessary, identifies areas requiring clarification to ensure completeness and accuracy.  The AM then forwards the proposal evaluation forms to the Contracting Officer.  If the Contracting Officer requires clarification/changes, they will coordinate with the AM and the evaluator(s). 

NOTE:  For planning purposes, TMs should allow 60 calendar days to issue a delivery order, beginning upon receipt of the package by the AM.  (Unless the package must be returned for revisions.)  Keep in mind that each procurement is different.  Procurements that are large and complex may take longer than average.
3.2.5 Step Five.  Clarification, Legal Review, and Award.
Based on the recommendation contained in the proposal evaluation forms, the Contracting Officer may conduct discussions or negotiations with the Offerors.  The Contracting Officer may coordinate legal review prior to award.  Once reviewed by legal, the Contracting Officer issues a signed delivery order to the successful Contractor and provides a copy to the supporting AM and the TM.   The Contracting Officer is the only official that can authorize Contractors to work.   

3.2.6 Step Six.  AM&S: COR Designation Memorandum.
The duties of the COR nominee will be formally designated in writing in accordance with the FAR and DFARS.  Once the AM receives certification that the COR nominee has successfully completed COR training, the AM will provide a formal written COR designation memorandum to the Contracting Officer for signature.  The Contracting Officer will sign and forward the designation memorandum to the COR nominee and AM, thereby officially designating the authority to the COR nominee.

3.3 Phase Three. Post-Award Contract Administration.
Post-award contract administration roles and responsibilities are outlined within the RFP/DO Attachment Template.  The COR serves as the primary technical point of contact for the delivery order.  Should any issues arise during the life of the delivery order, the COR will coordinate with the AM for assistance and guidance.  The AM&S AM will work with the COR to ensure proper execution of the surveillance plans, tracking procedures, and related management control processes for evaluating technical performance on active orders, to include past performance reports.
 
3.3.1 Contract Administration Designation Memo.
The contracting office will issue a written designation of contract authority memorandum to the COR.  This memorandum lists the duties of the COR.  The contracting office, in coordination with AM&S signs the formal written designation memorandum and forwards the memorandum to AM&S for signature by the COR.  The COR is required to sign the designation memorandum signifying their receipt and understanding of acquisition roles and responsibilities.  If the COR has not received this designation memorandum within two weeks of delivery order issuance, they should contact their AM who will coordinate with the Contracting Officer.

3.3.2 Post Award Kick-Off Meeting.  The COR should arrange for a post-award kick-off meeting to review Government expectations regarding performance, Contractor invoices and receiving reports and clarification of deliverables.  A well-run post-award kick-off meeting can prevent misunderstandings, improve Contractor responsiveness, and increase overall contract performance.  For large and complex procurements, the AM and Contracting Officer may participate in the post-award kick off meeting.

a. Performance Standards.  During the post-award kick-off meeting, performance standards and performance assessment should be discussed and clarified as necessary.  The COR should solicit input from the Contractor regarding the discrete activities necessary to define the success of the task and other areas as necessary (Quality of Product or Service; Schedule; Cost Control; Business Relations; Management of Key Personnel; and other areas as necessary).  The COR should also verify the name and e-mail address of the Contractor representative.

b. Invoicing.  During the post award kick off meeting, Contractors should be briefed on which invoice processing method is appropriate for the delivery order.  The Contractor should also be briefed on the use of the Wide Area Workflow-Receiving and Acceptance (WAWF-RA) system to submit electronic payment requests and receiving reports in accordance with DFARS 232.7003.  The AM&S WAWF-RA Coordinator is available to go over system requirements and Contractor steps for gaining access to the WAWF-RA. 

3.3.3 Monthly Performance and Progress Reporting.
The terms and conditions of each GSA order require that Contractors prepare and submit a Monthly Performance and Progress Report (MPPR) that addresses the total order work activity for each month.  The MPPR must address work activity that is tied to a specific delivery order.

a. Labor Hour (LH) and Time and Materials (T&M) MPPR Contents.  For LH and T&M type orders, the MPPR must list labor categories, name, and quantity of hours utilized on a monthly basis by CLIN.  The report must also include status of work, documentation of problems, and recommended solution to problems. 
b. Firm Fixed Price (FFP) MPPR Contents.  For FFP type orders, the MPPR must list cumulative billings, status of work, documentation of problems, and recommended solutions to problems.

c. Review of the MPPR.  The COR must closely monitor the order expenditures/burn rate (for T&M) and expiration date, and must initiate any necessary modifications or extensions at least 60 calendar days prior to their proposed start date.  AM&S has developed a standardized format which can be used in situations where non-purchased care Contractor expenditure reporting and contract “burn rate” monitoring is necessary.  The format is at: Standard Contractor Cost Report Format.   For FFP contracts there is no standardized cost/price reporting format nor should Contractors be required to report more than total contract obligation amount and amount invoiced.  Close attention should be paid to information about funding to ensure that adequate funds remain to complete tasks during the order’s period of performance and to prevent cost overrun, underburn, and the need for ratifications [2].  Identification of any discrepancy or potential discrepancy should first be addressed with the Contractor.  If the issue is resolved with the Contractor, the COR should make a notation in his contract file, or the Contractor should resubmit a corrected report.  If the issue is not resolved, the COR should document the issue, and meet with the AM for assistance. 
The COR must assess the need for additional or follow-on work and generate new Task Packages not later than sixty (60) calendar days prior to expiration of funds or period of performance.

3.3.4 Review of Deliverables.
It is the responsibility of the COR to receive and carefully review each deliverable to determine whether it satisfies the requirements specified in the order.  If it is acceptable, the COR will approve the receiving report.  If any deliverables are unacceptable, the COR will immediately notify the Contractor and request corrective action.  The COR should keep the AM&S AM informed of the status of any unacceptable deliverables.  If the COR and the Contractor cannot resolve the issue, the COR should provide a copy of the documentation to the AM, along with a list of all actions taken to resolve the issue.  The AM will then assist the COR in attempting to resolve the issue.  If AM efforts fail, the AM will involve the Contracting Officer to attempt resolution with the Contractor.

3.3.5 Invoicing.
The Contractor prepares an invoice and receiving report for a specific product or period of performance.  The invoice and receiving report are submitted to the COR for review and approval.  If a receiving report/invoice is not acceptable, it will be rejected back to the Contractor with specific reasons for rejection and detailed instructions on how to correct it.

A recent change to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS) mandates end-to-end electronic processing of payment requests and supporting documentation such as receiving reports in cases where the Contractor is able to submit a payment request in electronic form.  If the terms of a contract call for a receiving report, the performing Contractor should be strongly encouraged to submit both the invoice and receiving report using the Wide Area Workflow-Receipt and Acceptance (WAWF-RA) system.  WAWF-RA is the DoD standard system that enables the Government to electronically process data and perform the Government receipt and acceptance process previously captured by the DD Form 250, Material Inspection Receiving Report.
3.3.6 Documenting Contractor Past Performance.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires that past performance information (PPI) be collected (FAR Part 42) and used in source selection evaluations (FAR Part 15).  Past performance information must be gathered for the following Business Sectors/Thresholds:
  • Health Care greater than $100,000
  • IT greater than $1,000,000
  • Services greater than $1,000,000
  • Systems greater than $5,000,000
  • Operations Support greater than $5,000,000
TMA activities will separately evaluate each delivery order or stand alone contract above the appropriate threshold (include all option periods).  This is typically the responsibility of the COR with program oversight as necessary by the Program Manager/Division Chief.

a.  Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS).  CPARS has been adopted by TMA to electronically capture assessment data and manage the evaluation process.  In addition to satisfying the mandatory collection and reporting of past performance data, the use of CPARS is expected to directly benefit each contract action and result in better Government-Contractor relations and more responsive contract support.  The AM&S CPARS Coordinator will provide guidance and grant system access for a specific delivery order to the COR (CPARS Assessing Official) and the Program Manager/Division Chief (CPARS Government Reviewing Official).  CPARS is accessed through the website at http://www.cpars.csd.disa.mil/cparsmain.htm.  If the COR has not received CPARS system access for their delivery order within 30 days of delivery order issuance, they should contact the GSA COR for guidance. 

b.  Narrative Description of Performance.  It is of the utmost importance that the COR /Assessing Official prepare a quality narrative to thoroughly describe the circumstances surrounding a rating.  Assessments may be supported by multifunctional input from Government specialists familiar with the Contractor’s performance.  Both Government and Contractor program management perspectives are captured on the CPAR form.  Once the COR /Assessing Official completes the proposed assessment, the CPAR is released to the appropriate Contractor Representative who has 30 days to comment on the evaluation.  If the Contractor does not concur with the proposed assessment, it can only be closed out after a Government Reviewing Official reviews it and enter comments.  The entire process must be completed not later than 120 days after completion of the period of performance. 

3.3.7 Problem Resolution.  Development and maintenance of strong, positive business relationships between the Government and Contractors is strongly encouraged.  However, there may be instances when problems develop that will require involvement of other organizations to bring the issue to resolution. 
AM&S’ initial process for addressing problems begins when the COR identifies a problem with Contractor performance. The COR, with assistance from the AM, if necessary, will address the problem directly with the Contractor, creating written notes or emails to document the file in an effort to resolve the problem informally. 
If resolution cannot be reached, the COR and AM will contact the Contracting Officer, providing pertinent files and data outlining the problem.
The Contracting Officer will discuss the problem with the Contractor.  The Contracting Officer will inform the AM and the COR of the outcome. If resolution is achieved, the Contracting Officer will advise the AM and COR of the agreement and will document the incident in the past performance evaluation which may include appropriate positive or negative references.  If resolution is not achieved, the Contracting Officer will apprise the AM and the COR of next steps.

3.3.8 Delivery Order Close Out.  An order is considered to be complete when final delivery is made of the required goods and services and the Government has made acceptance and final payment to the order.  Until the GSA Contractor has complied with all the terms of the order, the order is not complete and ready for closeout.  This ensures that the closeout is completed when all administrative actions have been completed, all disputes settled, and final payment has been made.  The COR is encouraged to have the Contractor submit a final invoice as soon as practicable.  Contract closeout requires coordination between GSA, TMA, and the Contractor.
 


[1] The GSA contracts do not allow for orders to include the purchase of equipment, materials, software, etc., which are not directly required for completion of task.

[2] Per FAR 1.602-3(a), ratification is defined as, “The act of approving an unauthorized commitment, by an official who has the authority to do so, for the purpose of paying for supplies or services provided to the government as a result of an unauthorized commitment.”
 
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