Question: Can you do a COR exemption letter in the middle of a contract.
Interesting. We have some questions as well:
Is this a contract for services? If yes, does it have a quality assurance surveillance plan (QASP)? If there has been “no surveillance” since it started - has the contractor received any payment(s) yet? If yes, who is doing government acceptance? If not, who will do government acceptance?
When the government “accepts” it certifies that we have done a reasonable inspection. Sometimes (e.g. commercial contract format and/or actions below the simplified acquisition threshold) the government does not conduct inspection, we rely on the contractor to do it. Then we reserve the right to conduct inspection after the fact or reserve the right to revoke final acceptance if the goods or services are later found to be non-conforming. The “acceptance” then authorizes the contractor to be paid (e.g. certify an invoice, etc.).
Back to your question: If you are not going to designate a COR to do “acceptance” or other surveillance activities; or you don’t want to delegate the current COR this responsibility/authority; and this contract has not been delegated to DCMA; the contracting officer must be the one to “accept” on behalf of the government and authorize payment.
A COR Exemption Letter is only needed to document your official contract file on why a COR is not assigned in the event your contract or task order meets the requirement for a COR not to be assigned. Here’s how to deconstruct this:
The guidance you need can be found at DFARS PGI 201.602-2(iv)(A), which states:
“Contracting officers shall (emphasis added) 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 (each of) 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.
Note: Bold Italics added for emphasis.
For cost reimbursement contracts that are not service contracts, contracting officers shall either retain or delegate surveillance activities to a COR or DCMA.”
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.
So, if you do not meet each of the three criteria in the DFARS that allows the KO to retain all contract administration but you still do NOT want to have a COR; the only way you could do this would be to do a deviation. Then you would have to follow your agency’s FAR Supplement (the AFFARS in your case – see 5301.403).
Note: the above is also codified in DoDI 5000.72 - DoD Standard for Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) Certification.
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