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I read through this thread and did not see two of the latest documents used within DoD, included in this discussion. The DoD Guidebook for the Acquisition of Services, dated July 20, 2011, Para 4.3.2 Performance Assessment Strategies has some guidance about the QASP. The Services Acquisition Guidebook dated June 5, 2012 seems to be derived from the DoD Guidebook and states the same guidance concerning the QASP. This document is hosted on the DPAP website and indicates the QASP is not to be included as part of the contract. 4.3.2 : "The QASP is not incorporated into the contract since this enables the government to make adjustments in the method and frequency of inspections without disturbing the contract. An informational copy of the QASP should be furnished to the contractor." DoD and DAU are leading the KO/CO away from incorporating the QASP in the solicitation and contract.

http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/ccap/cc/corhb/Files/Miscellaneous_Training/Guidebook_for_Acquisition_of_Services_24March2012.pdf

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As a contractor, I find this disturbing rather than helpful. It leaves an open-ended scope of QA work. From the contractor side, it would be more helpful to have this scope defined in the solicitation so that it can be priced.

Not necessarily, if the performance work statement is done well, it will contain all of the essential elements a contractor needs to price the effort. According to the DoD Guidbook for the Acquisition of Services, the intent of the guidance seems to be to provide the QASP as a product that compliments the PWS and allows the Government to alter the method of surveillance without having to modify the contract each time a change is made to the QASP. Is this the best possible solution? I've not yet had an issue with this method, but I have not worked contracts in a couple of years, but I also have not heard complaints from either contractors or 1102s who have used this method.

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Guest Vern Edwards

I've not yet had an issue with this method, but I have not worked contracts in a couple of years, but I also have not heard complaints from either contractors or 1102s who have used this method.

How many contractors and 1102s have used the method and how many of them are you in touch with?

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Many of the 1102s I know have used this method, and the contractors do not experience significant issues unless the PWS and the QASP are out of sync. Typically, problems occur if the drafter of the PWS does not accomplish his/her due diligence when preparing the PRS and the PWS does not agree with the matrix in the QASP, if the narrative between the two documents varies, or some other oversight occurs and then problems follow. A majority of my contracting experince is with DoD and many are following the DAU/DoD guidance I posted. If you have specific questions about locations, I will share away from a public forum. I just returned from a three year assignment in Europe but was not actively working contracts, although I was working in a procurement related capacity.

I can reach out to any of the 1102s for specific questions, but I generally do not stay in touch with contractors when I go from one location to the next. I could get a hold of them I suppose, if needed. I have not yet examined how things are being done where I currently hang my hat, I'm just getting settled in and reviewing the contracts which I will be working for the next X months or X years, depending on how long I stay here.

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Guest Vern Edwards

You didn't answer my question.

Not many 1102s knows many other of the 30,000+ 1102s, and I doubt that you know even five percent of them. There would be no point in you reaching out, since that probably would not produce a good sample. The fact is that none of us knows what most 1102s do with their QASPs. The only thing we can say is that some people put their QASPs in their contracts and some don't. Why don't we leave it at that? Each of us can say what each of us thinks is the best approach and why we think it.

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You didn't answer my question.

I really don't care about your question in all honesty, I was just trying to be cordial. Your question lacked the detail to answer in the manner you expected, perhaps it was intentional to lead into another discussion or perhaps it was unintentionally vague. However since you have chosen to add more context to your question I will respond.

Not many 1102s knows many other of the 30,000+ 1102s, and I doubt that you know even five percent of them. There would be no point in you reaching out, since that probably would not produce a good sample. The fact is that none of us knows what most 1102s do with their QASPs.

You are correct, I doubt I know even five percent but then again I never claimed to know a great number of them. Due to the vague nature of your question I made some assumptions, which I should have known better when responding to you. I have observed your style of writing for quite some time and should have predicted your question was not intended to be constructive.

I have worked for three different agencies in the last 14 years and I know what the agency policy and guidance were telling their 1102s so if they were following policy and guidance, then one could presume a great number of them. If you are looking for a statistical sample then no, my reaching out to a few contractors would not provide any relevant data. If one were examining positive or negative experiences for anecdotal evidence for discussion purposes (like this thread) than perhaps, but I now see that is not your interest. I doubt however that you will be conducting a scientific analysis of how many contracting officers or contractors have used this method so I am left to wonder what was the purpose of your question “How many contractors and 1102s have used the method and how many of them are you in touch with” other than to lead into some inflammatory discussion. Again, I should have known your question was not intended to constructively continue this discussion.

In my first post I simply posted the latest guidance from DoD and DAU, which Gov2310 seemed to find useful, rather than some outdated "Air Force Regulation 400-28, published in 1979, which become OFPP Pamphlet No. 4" and offers little to the original question posed by GOV 2310. But thank you for your history lesson although I’m not sure how citing defunct regulations answers the original question Gov2310 or supports an answer of “yes and yes,” but I am sure you will enlighten us with your sage-like knowledge.

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To the extent that FAR 46.4 applies to construction contracts (it does) I can tell you that our organization (USACE) prepares QA Plans and does not include the plan in the contract. The internal regulations make no reference to such a regulation and ( as of 2013) I never saw one included. For the reasons I cited there is no reason to. I have no idea what others do.

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Guest Vern Edwards

daniel_1102:

Thank you for your answer in Post #34. I assumed that your statement about the 1102s that you knew was designed to be persuasive in some way. I mean, why else would you have mentioned it? So I wanted to know how many you knew so I could judge the persuasiveness of your views. You might have been a staff person in a large agency who worked on QASP policy or provided training in QA to agency 1102s buying services, and thus would have known a lot of 1102s, which would indeed have made your views highly persuasive. How was I to know? I don't think my question was either vague or out of line. I appreciate the information you provided. I probably "know" about 3,000 or so 1102s, either through occasional professional or personal contact or through correspondence, but I can't recall discussing QASPs with more than 300 or so, and that would have been long, long ago. Anyway, no offense meant. I should have explained why I asked.

I am grateful to you for providing the link to the DOD guidebook, of which I was unaware. I cited AFR 400-28, better known as OFPP Pamphlet No. 4, only because it was the document in which the concept of the QASP was first described, and as far as I know the concept has not changed much if at all.

It is ironic, however, that you refer to that reference as "outdated." If you check my Post #3, and read the second quote from that reference, the one from paragraph 6.1c, you will see that the policy then was the same as in the current DOD guidebook -- the QASP is to be given to offerors for information purposes, but it is not to be incorporated into the contract.

The current DOD guidebook to which you provided a link says:

The QASP is not incorporated into the contract since this enables the government to make adjustments in the method and frequency of inspections without disturbing the contract. An informational copy of the QASP should be furnished to the contractor.

My outdated reference says:

Make sure to mark the QA surveillance plan with the following statement: “For Information Purposes Only. This Quality Assurance surveillance plan is not part of the Request for Proposal or Invitation for Bids nor will it be made part of any resulting contract.” Use this statement since the government must retain the right to change or modify inspections methods.

Yes, the old guidebook is really, really outdated. I wonder where the people who wrote the new guidebook got their ideas?

As for your statement:

But thank you for your history lesson although I’m not sure how citing defunct regulations answers the original question Gov2310 or supports an answer of “yes and yes,” but I am sure you will enlighten us with your sage-like knowledge.

Please take another look at my Post #3. I did not cite AFR 400-28/OFPP Pamphlet No. 4 to support "Yes and yes." I merely provided it as background to show that once upon a time the guidance was to not include the QASP in the contract. I argued "Yes and yes" on the basis of FAR 46.101 and 46.201, and pointed out that they are current regulations and supplant the earlier AFR/OFPP publication. Since the current DOD guidebook is just that, a guidebook, it does not supersede FAR 46.101 and 46.201. I also acknowledged that there was a difference of opinion about the interpretation and application of the two FAR sections. If DOD and DAU are trying to lead COs away from putting QASPs in their contracts, all DPAP has to do is say that in the DFARS.

But, in order to constructively advance the discussion, let's consider the following statement in the new guidebook:

The QASP is not incorporated into the contract since this enables the government to make adjustments in the method and frequency of inspections without disturbing the contract.

Now, just what do the authors mean by "disturbing" the contract? Do they mean changing it? It's true that if the QASP is not incorporated into the contract, then a change in the QASP should not entail a formal contract modification. But I'm not convinced that leaving the plan out of the contract would allow the government to change inspection methods without having to compensate the contractor. See Nash and Feldman, Government Contract Changes, § 11:28. It would depend on the effect of the change on the contractor.

Which brings me back to a point that I made earlier -- whether or not the QASP should be included in the contract depends in large measure on what is in the QASP. If it specifies the kinds of things that AFR 400-28/OFPP Pamphlet No. 4 describe, which are similar to what the new DOD guidebook describes, then I think FAR 46.101 and 46.201 require its inclusion in the contract, unless the same information is otherwise included. By the way, even if the document is not itself included in the contract, express mention of it in the PWS or the PRS might have the effect of making it part of the contract. I also think that if it is provided with the solicitation for informational purposes, and if it leads offerors to proceed in a certain way, and if it is subsequently changed so that it requires the contractor to change its processes, then, whether made a part of the contract or not and regardless of any disclaimer, the contractor may be able to obtain compensation if it is changed in a way that affects performance.

FYI, QASPs are mentioned in only 19 board decisions and 11 decisions of the Court of Federal Claims. Some agencies clearly have incorporated the plan into the contract, others have not. Based on a quick scan of the decisions it appears to me that incorporation has never been a key issue.

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