In order to reduce storage space for temporary staging of closed contracts and delivery orders, and those that are in the process of being closed, can the files be purged to remove documents? This may include copies of vouchers, duplicate modifications, memo for records, drawings provided during the solictation stage, etc.
Does a list of required documents that must be retained in the contract file exist?
If purging is not reasonable, may the file be scanned into electronic media and the disk be retained, staged, and destroyed as required by the closeout procedure?
You can certainly dispose of duplicates. Yes, you can use electronic media to store the file. Yes, you can re-create the file onto a disc. Below is the FAR citation for what goes in (and stays in) the contract file; below that is the file retention rules.
4.803 Contents of contract files.
The following are examples of the records normally contained, if applicable, in contract files:
(a) Contracting office contract file.
(1) Purchase request, acquisition planning information, and other presolicitation documents.
(2) Justifications and approvals, determinations and findings, and associated documents.
(3) Evidence of availability of funds.
(4) Synopsis of proposed acquisition as required by Part 5 <https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/FARTOCP05.html#wp290921> or a reference to the synopsis.
(5) The list of sources solicited, and a list of any firms or persons whose requests for copies of the solicitation were denied, together with the reasons for denial.
(6) Set-aside decision.
(7) Government estimate of contract price.
(8) A copy of the solicitation and all amendments thereto.
(9) Security requirements and evidence of required clearances.
(10) A copy of each offer or quotation, the related abstract, and records of determinations concerning late offers or quotations. Unsuccessful offers or quotations may be maintained separately, if cross-referenced to the contract file. The only portions of the unsuccessful offer or quotation that need be retained are—
(i) Completed solicitation sections A, B, and K;
(ii) Technical and management proposals;
(iii) Cost/price proposals; and
(iv) Any other pages of the solicitation that the offeror or quoter has altered or annotated.
(11) Contractor’s representations and certifications (see 4.1201 <https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart 4_12.html#wp1073667> (c)).
(12) Preaward survey reports or reference to previous preaward survey reports relied upon.
(13) Source selection documentation.
(14) Contracting officer’s determination of the contractor’s responsibility.
(15) Small Business Administration Certificate of Competency.
(16) Records of contractor’s compliance with labor policies including equal employment opportunity policies.
(17) Cost or pricing data and Certificates of Current Cost or Pricing Data or a required justification for waiver, or information other than cost or pricing data.
(18) Packaging and transportation data.
(19) Cost or price analysis.
(20) Audit reports or reasons for waiver.
(21) Record of negotiation.
(22) Justification for type of contract.
(23) Authority for deviations from this regulation, statutory requirements, or other restrictions.
(24) Required approvals of award and evidence of legal review.
(25) Notice of award.
(26) The original of—
(i) The signed contract or award;
(ii) All contract modifications; and
(iii) Documents supporting modifications executed by the contracting office.
(27) Synopsis of award or reference thereto.
(28) Notice to unsuccessful quoters or offerors and record of any debriefing.
(29) Acquisition management reports (see Subpart 4.6 <https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart 4_6.html#wp1089036> ).
(30) Bid, performance, payment, or other bond documents, or a reference thereto, and notices to sureties.
(31) Report of postaward conference.
(32) Notice to proceed, stop orders, and any overtime premium approvals granted at the time of award.
(33) Documents requesting and authorizing modification in the normal assignment of contract administration functions and responsibility.
(34) Approvals or disapprovals of requests for waivers or deviations from contract requirements.
(35) Rejected engineering change proposals.
(36) Royalty, invention, and copyright reports (including invention disclosures) or reference thereto.
(37) Contract completion documents.
(38) Documentation regarding termination actions for which the contracting office is responsible.
(39) Cross-references to pertinent documents that are filed elsewhere.
(40) Any additional documents on which action was taken or that reflect actions by the contracting office pertinent to the contract.
(41) A current chronological list identifying the awarding and successor contracting officers, with inclusive dates of responsibility.
(b) Contract administration office contract file.
(1) Copy of the contract and all modifications, together with official record copies of supporting documents executed by the contract administration office.
(2) Any document modifying the normal assignment of contract administration functions and responsibility.
(3) Security requirements.
(4) Cost or pricing data, Certificates of Current Cost or Pricing Data, or information other than cost or pricing data; cost or price analysis; and other documentation supporting contractual actions executed by the contract administration office.
(5) Preaward survey information.
(6) Purchasing system information.
(7) Consent to subcontract or purchase.
(8) Performance and payment bonds and surety information.
(9) Postaward conference records.
(10) Orders issued under the contract.
(11) Notice to proceed and stop orders.
(12) Insurance policies or certificates of insurance or references to them.
(13) Documents supporting advance or progress payments.
(14) Progressing, expediting, and production surveillance records.
(15) Quality assurance records.
(16) Property administration records.
(17) Documentation regarding termination actions for which the contract administration office is responsible.
(18) Cross reference to other pertinent documents that are filed elsewhere.
(19) Any additional documents on which action was taken or that reflect actions by the contract administration office pertinent to the contract.
(20) Contract completion documents.
(c) Paying office contract file.
(1) Copy of the contract and any modifications.
(2) Bills, invoices, vouchers, and supporting documents.
(3) Record of payments or receipts.
(4) Other pertinent documents.
Here's the retention periods for contracts as specified in FAR 4.805:
4.805 Storage, handling, and disposal of contract files.
(a) Agencies must prescribe procedures for the handling, storing, and disposing of contract files. These procedures must take into account documents held in all types of media, including microfilm and various electronic media. Agencies may change the original medium to facilitate storage as long as the requirements of Part 4 <https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/FARTOCP04.html#wp273111> , law, and other regulations are satisfied. The process used to create and store records must record and reproduce the original document, including signatures and other written and graphic images completely, accurately, and clearly. Data transfer, storage, and retrieval procedures must protect the original data from alteration. Unless law or other regulations require signed originals to be kept, they may be destroyed after the responsible agency official verifies that record copies on alternate media and copies reproduced from the record copy are accurate, complete, and clear representations of the originals. Agency procedures for contract file disposal must include provisions that the documents specified in paragraph (b) of this section may not be destroyed before the times indicated, and may be retained longer if the responsible agency official determines that the files have future value to the Government. When original documents have been converted to alternate media for storage, the requirements in paragraph (b) of this section also apply to the record copies in the alternate media.
(b) If administrative records are mixed with program records and cannot be economically segregated, the entire file should be kept for the period of time approved for the program records. Similarly, if documents described in the following table are part of a subject or case file that documents activities that are not described in the table, they should be treated in the same manner as the files of which they are a part. The retention periods for acquisitions at or below the simplified acquisition threshold also apply to acquisitions conducted prior to July 3, 1995, that used small purchase procedures. The retention periods for acquisitions above the simplified acquisition threshold also apply to acquisitions conducted prior to July 3, 1995, that used other than small purchase procedures.
(1) Records pertaining to Contract Disputes Act actions.
6 years and 3 months after final action or decision for files created prior to October 1, 1979. 1 year after final action or decision for files created on or after October 1, 1979.
(2) Contracts (and related records or documents, including successful proposals) exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold for other than construction.
6 years and 3 months after final payment.
(3) Contracts (and related records or documents, including successful proposals) at or below the simplified acquisition threshold for other than construction.
3 years after final payment.
(4) Construction contracts:
(i) Above $2,000.
6 years and 3 months after final payment.
(ii) $2,000 or less.
3 years after final payment.
(iii) Related records or documents, including successful proposals, except for contractor's payrolls (see (b)(4)(iv)).
Same as contract file.
(iv) Contractor's payrolls submitted in accordance with Department of Labor regulations, with related certifications, anti-kickback affidavits, and other related papers.
3 years after contract completion unless contract performance is the subject of an enforcement action on that date.
(5) Solicited and unsolicited unsuccessful offers, quotations, bids, and proposals:
(i) Relating to contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold.
If filed separately from contract file, until contract is completed. Otherwise, the same as related contract file.
(ii) Relating to contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold.
1 year after date of award or until final payment, whichever is later.
(6) Files for canceled solicitations.
5 years after cancellation.
(7) Other copies of procurement file records used by component elements of a contracting office for administrative purposes.
Upon termination or completion.
(8) Documents pertaining generally to the contractor as described at 4.801 <https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart 4_8.html#wp1108950> (c)(3).
Until superseded or obsolete.
(9) Data submitted to the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). Electronic data file maintained by fiscal year, containing unclassified records of all procurements other than simplified acquisitions, and information required under 4.603 <https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart 4_6.html#wp1090087> .
5 years after submittal to FPDS.
(10) Investigations, cases pending or in litigation (including protests), or similar matters.
Until final clearance or settlement, or, if related to a document identified in (b)(1) - (9), for the retention period specified for the related document, whichever is later.
Open full Question Details