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Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASP)

ACON 066


The document government personnel use to assess contractor performance. The QASP identifies what is going to be inspected, the inspection process, and who will do the inspecting.

Alternate Definition

The Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASP) is the key Government-developed surveillance process document, and is applied to Performance-Based Service Contracting (PBSC). The QASP is used for managing contractor performance assessment by ensuring that systematic quality assurance methods validate that contractor quality control efforts are timely, effective, and are delivering the results specified in the contract or task order. The QASP directly corresponds to the performance objectives and standards (i.e., quality, quantity, timeliness) specified in the Performance Work Statement (PWS). It provides specific details on how the Government will survey, observe, test, sample, evaluate, and document contractor performance results to determine if the contractor has met the required standards for each objective in the PWS.

General Information

Each performance objective in the PWS is linked to a method of inspection incorporated in the QASP. Therefore, the QASP focuses on the level of performance required by the PWS, rather than on the methodology used by the contractor to achieve that level of performance. The QASP is based on the premise that the contractor, not the Government, is responsible for managing its quality controls and ensuring that performance meets the terms of the contract. The QASP is intended to be a “living” document and reviewed as performance warrants. Consequently, the method and degree of performance assessment may change over time depending on the level of confidence in the contractor.


QASPs will vary depending on several factors (e.g., type of contract, complexity and criticality of services, location of services, performance requirements and standards). However, a well designed QASP will contain the following critical components:


  • Methods of Surveillance: The applicable mix of contractor metrics, random sampling, periodic inspection, 100% inspection, customer feedback and third party audits, as appropriate, that are specified to properly monitor performance and quality.
  • Sampling Guide: A sampling guide is a written procedure which states what will be checked, the Acceptable Quality Level (AQL)1 and how the checking will be done. Using the sampling guide, the COR can accept or reject the service, based on the AQL.
  • Decision Tables: When a service has failed to meet AQL, a decision must be made as to who is at fault (contractor or Government). A decision table is used for this purpose. The decision table identifies different kinds of unsatisfactory performance, probable cause factors, and the things from which these factors could result.
  • Checklists: Used to record what has been checked by a sampling guide and to record information on contract items not covered by sampling.


In addition to the above, a well written QASP will describe:


  • How the team (i.e., Government and contractor personnel) will work together,
  • How the team will treat data used to measure performance,
  • How the team identifies ways to improve efficiency and reduce risk, and
  • How disputes will be resolved.


1Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) defines the maximum allowable leeway or variance from a standard before the Government will reject a service. The AQL can be expressed as a number, a percentage, or a quantity per number of units inspected.