Can an Award Fee Plan replace a Performance Plan (now QASP) entirely?
The Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASP) is the document government personnel use to assess contractor performance when using the Performance-based Services Acquisition method. The QASP identifies what is going to be inspected, the inspection process, and who will do the inspecting. The results of those inspections will then be used to document contractor performance. A QASP should contain the following elements such as Roles and Responsibilities, Performance Requirements and Assessments, and Performance Reporting.
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On the other hand, the Award Fee plan is a plan that establishes the procedures for evaluating the award of incentive payments under an award fee incentive contract. Details of what is included in the award fee plan are outlined in FAR 16.401. The award fee incentive is utilized when the work to be performed does not tie well to objective measures applicable to cost, schedule, and performance. In other words, it is a subjective method of determining the incentive payment to the contractor. If objective targets/measures are available, then an incentive fee/firm arrangement is more suitable.
It appears that your organization attempted to tie the performance requirements documented in the QASP to the contractor’s ability to earn their award fee incentive payment. To my knowledge, there is nothing that prohibits this type connection as long as it documented thoroughly and communicated to the contractor. The contractor must be able to understand the performance criteria for a fair opportunity to receive the award fee available in the award period. If the contractor is not treated fairly under the award fee determination, the contractor can utilize the Disputes process.
For more information, please see FAR Part 16.401, DFARS Part 216.4, DFARS Part 237, PGI 237, and the Guidebook for the Acquisition of Services dated July 20, 2011.