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My civilian agency would like to award a no-cost contract to a contractor to run a lab certification program. The Government would work with the contractor in designing, implementing, and maintaining the standards of the program, and the Contractor would be paid by the labs for the test materials and subsequent test results. Could someone point me toward some best practices or a good model solicitation for such a program? Would this be a sort of a cost sharing arrangement? Thanks!

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A ?no cost contract? is unusual. There is no standard format.

Look at the definition of a contract in FAR Part 2:

Quote

?Contract? means a mutually binding legal relationship obligating the seller to furnish the supplies or services (including construction) and the buyer to pay for them. It includes all types of commitments that obligate the Government to an expenditure of appropriated funds and that, except as otherwise authorized, are in writing. In addition to bilateral instruments, contracts include (but are not limited to) awards and notices of awards; job orders or task letters issued under basic ordering agreements; letter contracts; orders, such as purchase orders, under which the contract becomes effective by written acceptance or performance; and bilateral contract modifications. Contracts do not include grants and cooperative agreements covered by 31 U.S.C.6301, et seq. For discussion of various types of contracts, see Part 16.

Unquote

Will you, the buyer, pay for the services furnished by the lab?

Are you obligating the Government to an expenditure of appropriated funds?

What will be the consideration essential to contract creation?

There is also the matter of an Antideficiency Act prohibition on federal agencies? acceptance of voluntary services without specific statutory authority.

A few years back, GSA awarded a no cost contract for realty broker services. The contract was reviewed by GAO. Along with other "no cost" contracts, it is discussed in ?B-308968, No-Cost Contracts for Event Planning Services, November 27, 2007.? The link is here: http://www.gao.gov/decisions/appro/308968.htm.

I suggest you read the GAO decision, and then speak with your attorney about how to structure your solicitation and contract.

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A ?no cost contract? is unusual. There is no standard format.

Look at the definition of a contract in FAR Part 2:

Quote

?Contract? means a mutually binding legal relationship obligating the seller to furnish the supplies or services (including construction) and the buyer to pay for them. It includes all types of commitments that obligate the Government to an expenditure of appropriated funds and that, except as otherwise authorized, are in writing. In addition to bilateral instruments, contracts include (but are not limited to) awards and notices of awards; job orders or task letters issued under basic ordering agreements; letter contracts; orders, such as purchase orders, under which the contract becomes effective by written acceptance or performance; and bilateral contract modifications. Contracts do not include grants and cooperative agreements covered by 31 U.S.C.6301, et seq. For discussion of various types of contracts, see Part 16.

Unquote

Will you, the buyer, pay for the services furnished by the lab?

Are you obligating the Government to an expenditure of appropriated funds?

What will be the consideration essential to contract creation?

There is also the matter of an Antideficiency Act prohibition on federal agencies? acceptance of voluntary services without specific statutory authority.

A few years back, GSA awarded a no cost contract for realty broker services. The contract was reviewed by GAO. Along with other "no cost" contracts, it is discussed in ?B-308968, No-Cost Contracts for Event Planning Services, November 27, 2007.? The link is here: http://www.gao.gov/decisions/appro/308968.htm.

I suggest you read the GAO decision, and then speak with your attorney about how to structure your solicitation and contract.

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Thanks for the great references. We won't be using appropriated funds so it will look a lot like a concessions contract. At least it does look doable. I'll do some more research.

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