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My small (13 person) contracting shop at a civilian Department of Transportation agency does a monthly internal training session. We have a range of grades, GS-09 through GS-14, that attend. We've been sort of scheduling topics on an ad hoc basis but for FY15, I'd like to take a more structured approach. Some pertinent facts: We have 40 minutes per month. The two GS-14s are generally responsible for either presenting or assigning a presenter. We'd like to have the more junior grades involved more.

Some sample topics we've covered over the past year: Changes clauses, FAR part 8, GSA E-Buy, lessons learned on a recent large solicitation, the difference between sole source, limited sources and exception to fair opportunity and acquisition planning requirements.

So, I guess what I'm asking for is two fold: What topics can be covered appropriately in that time? Is there a logical order you suggest that those topics be covered?

(We buy 75% commercial items ans 25% research and development)

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The best answer would be whatever the person in charge, or your two GS-14s, have observed as areas needing attention.

From an outside perspective, however, not knowing your mission or people, I would suggest going back to basics, starting with the two fundamental things every file should be clear on, regardless of whether you're in the Government or purely private sector: Why did you pick this source, and why is the price OK?

Source selection and price reasonableness can have many facets and nuances, and your in-house training can focus on whichever aspects meet your needs.

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Guest Vern Edwards

The importance of official and common definitions in statutes, regulations, and contracts.

See the article, "Defining Definitions" in the February 2011 issue of NCMA's Contract Management magazine. If you want the article and can't get it, contact me through Wifcon and I'll send it to you.

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Does your Agency HQ review your procurement office? If so are there findings that you could use as areas for the training? Have you reviewed your Agency OIG audits for findings related to procurement? These are sources that may give you specific areas for your Agency that you need to provide procurement related training in your office.

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Does your Agency HQ review your procurement office? If so are there findings that you could use as areas for the training? Have you reviewed your Agency OIG audits for findings related to procurement? These are sources that may give you specific areas for your Agency that you need to provide procurement related training in your office.

I covered the findings this FY, but it may be worth covering them again. Thanks all, this has been helpful.

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At our agency, they have purchased "Fun with the FAR" series and we get together and go" in depth" each week, one or two parts of the FAR.

You can set something up like this w/o having to incur the expenses--- if the funds are not available.

Just take the FAR (and your supplements), chapter by chapter, 1 or 2 per week (or per session).

Delegate some of the assignments or presentations to teams, assign different teams different parts for presentation.

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1. Contract Formation

2. How To Prepare A Solicitation

3. Small Business Issues

4. Compare and Contrast FAR 8, 12, 13, 15 & 16

5. Evaluation factors

6. The Relationship of Sections C, L and M (and non-UCF equivalents)

7. Evaluation of Quotes / Proposals: Non-Price Factors

8. Evaluation of Quotes / Proposals: Price Factors

9. Discussions

10. Source Selection

11. File Documentation

12. Debriefings

The training cannot be merely a review of FAR policies, procedures, provisions, clauses and usage instructions. It must also address the interpretation of the FAR's words provided in GAO and COFC decisions.

While necessary, the "formal training" is only a complement to OJT. Supervisory review, correction and discussion of the contract specialists' products is the most effective training. It applies the concepts, polices and procedures addressed in the formal training.

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I recall an exercise that Vern Edwards developed for new people that you may be able to use for your junior grades who may have not much time/experience in the position. Here is the link:

http://www.wifcon.com/discussion/index.php?/blog/2/entry-1111-a-simple-training-exercise/

I'm glad you mentioned that because I took our two most junior people through it about five months ago. One took to it; the other did not.

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