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I work in a Policy Office (Army). Someone on our Contract Review team told me that Contracting Officers do not document their files on the applicability of the Service Contract Act. I use to procure services from 2006-2009 and would document the file to explain why the service that I was procuring was exempt from the Act. I cannot find whether or not it is a requirement to document the file in this manner. Am I correct that it should be documented?

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In part it would seem documetation is required at the FAR level, cannot speak to agency level requirements.....

FAR 22.1003-4(d)(2)(vi) -

The contracting officer (or contractor with respect to a subcontract) determines in advance before issuing the solicitation, based on the nature of the contract requirements and knowledge of the practices of likely offerors, that all or nearly all offerors will meet the conditions in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) through (v) of this subsection. If the services are currently being performed under contract, the contracting officer (or contractor with respect to a subcontract) shall consider the practices of the existing contractor in making a determination regarding the conditions in paragraphs (d)(2)(ii) through (v) of this subsection.

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I don't see any requirement to document the file as to the applicability of the SCA.

But, it seems like a prudent idea if the postion is that the requirement is for services that are exempt from SCA.

I wonder what your GC meant by "Contracting Officers do not document their files on the applicability of the Service Contract Act."

That could mean a lot of things. e.g. why SCA is not included in the contract; or SCA is in the contract but doesn't apply to the particular vendor because they are a sole proprietor, or the SCA included but applies to some labor categories but not to others.

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I don't have access to official Army Contracting Agency policy on contract files but it would seem that any competent KO or Specialist would document the contract file for every determination or official action. I administered contracts for over 30 years. I was called upon numerous to review, advise on, or evaluate and resolve changes, REA's, claims and other issues on contracts both within and outside my District or Division. I can tell you that the absence of a thoroughly organized and documented contract file is a recipe for disaster if there are claims, REA's, performance problems, etc., It is even worse, if the CAB team or PCO changes - and we all know that this is the norm, not the exception. There ought to be some agency policy on maintaining documentation for decisions and actions taken, if it isn't clear in the FAR. The FAR is very skimpy on details concerning contract files.

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I tried to work by the adage that when in doubt always try and put something in the file. Since you work for the Army you may want to refer to a recent DODIG Report on ACC-APG and the lack of file documentation concerning J&As. Another key item in the report was the recommendation that the Army agreed to that required administrative action against the Contracting Officer. Here is an excerpt from the report:

"...ACC-APG contracting personnel did not have adequate documentation justifying the award of one contract as sole source..."

Here is a link to the full report: http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2013-003.pdf

In sum it never hurts to put something in the file that provides explanation.

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If it is a service, but exempt from the SCA, I document the file. Although there are not many occassions that I run across anymore where this is the case.

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