Are Contracting Officer's Representatives and Quality Assurance Surveillance Plans required for service contracts awarded under at or below the simplified acquisition threshold?
If CORs are not required for required for service contracts awarded under at or below the simplified acquisition threshold, who should be monitoring the contractor's performance?
Great question(s), we’ve tackled them a number of times before in the COR section of Ask-A-Professor.
Bottom line up front (BLUF): At the DoD level CORs and QASPs are not automatically mandatory. That said, let’s take a closer look.
“Are CORS required for actions below the SAT?” Unless you have local or agency (Navy) level policy that we are unaware of, the guidance you need can be found at DFARS PGI 201.602-2(iv)(A), which states:
“Contracting officers shall designate a COR for all service contracts, including both firm fixed price and other than firm fixed price contracts, awarded by a DoD component or by any other Federal agency on behalf of DoD. The surveillance activities performed by CORs should be tailored to the dollar value/complexity of the specific contract for which they are designated. Contracting officers may exempt service contracts from this requirement when the following three conditions are met:
(1) The contract will be awarded using simplified acquisition procedures;
(2) The requirement is not complex; and
(3) The contracting officer documents the file, in writing, why the appointment of a COR is unnecessary.
So, a COR is not required if using simplified acquisition procedures and it should be documented why. This does not mean that the Contracting Officer or requiring activity shouldn’t request one. If there is no COR assigned; then ultimately the contracting officer is responsible for monitoring contractor performance. This makes sense considering that when a COR is appointed it is some of the contracting officer’s authority/responsibility they are being delegated.
Is a QASP needed? There is no guidance mandating any dollar threshold for when a QASP is required. The primary guidance is found at FAR Subpart 37.5 -- Management Oversight of Service Contracts. Specifically, FAR 37.502(b):
Services obtained under contracts below the simplified acquisition threshold and services incidental to supply contracts also are excluded from the requirements of this subpart. However, good management practices and contract administration techniques should be used regardless of the contracting method.
Again, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a QASP or some type of government surveillance plan or process, only means there doesn’t have to be.
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