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My question relates to a service contract which I am developing to procure professional services...

Historically, the command at which I'm stationed has issued FFP service contracts with a clearly defined number of full-time equivalent contractors necessary to complete the associated tasking.  It was mentioned in a recent review that we should not be calling out the number of contractor personnel and to let the company(s) propose this information.  In my opinion, I feel it prudent to clearly call out the expected number of personnel, because though our requirement tasking is thorough and well defined, the actual number of assessments (basic reference to the overall scope of tasking) to be performed is a forecast and not a definite number.  As such, I do not feel a company would have adequate information to propose with any confidence without this information.  FAR/DFARS/PGI/NMCARS (just to start) are mostly silent on this topic.  The SeaPort NxG ConOps DOES call out that the number of FTEs should be defined in a Sources Sought, so I can't fathom why that strategy would just disappear within the solicitation phase... 

I would appreciate some insight as to whether I'm tracking right with my thought process.  Thanks!

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Two questions:

1. The intent is to award a task order for the services under a parent IDC (ID/DQ-ID/IQ-ID/R)?

2. Are you not planning on using other than performance-based acquisition methods?

I ask because FAR 37.602(b)(1) is clear, "Describe the work in terms of the required results rather than either "how" the work is to be accomplished or the number of hours to be provided." you could easily add number of employees in that citation. This is why the reviewer brought this up.

I personally have never been in a situation where telling a contractor how many employees they should provide outweighed giving them the desired outcome and let them decide how to go about it. This allows them to provide a proposal that is competitive and capable of meeting the need. 

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6 hours ago, JaxD8282 said:

Historically, the command at which I'm stationed has issued FFP service contracts with a clearly defined number of full-time equivalent contractors necessary to complete the associated tasking.  It was mentioned in a recent review that we should not be calling out the number of contractor personnel and to let the company(s) propose this information.  In my opinion, I feel it prudent to clearly call out the expected number of personnel, because though our requirement tasking is thorough and well defined, the actual number of assessments (basic reference to the overall scope of tasking) to be performed is a forecast and not a definite number. 

What you are talking about is similar to idea of a military table of organization and equipment (TOE).

See https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/tda-ip.html

When I started out in contracting in the  1970s, when we began contracting out military functions, it was called a "contract manning table."  It was either prescribed in an RFP or offerors were required to propose it.

It's what you do when you are hiring a contractor to perform a function over some period of time rather than to complete a fully specified task.

Today, such things are inconsistent with the doctrine of performance based acquisition.

When the government began awarding firm-fixed-price contracts for performance of functions instead of just well-specified jobs, agencies included "manning tables" in contracts that specified job categories and numbers. See e.g., To Rowley & Scott, Comp. Gen, Dec. B-169946, Oct. 15, 1970, about a contract for food services at an Air Force Base. They  were a pain in the neck, what with the need for daily  reports about who showed up for work and who didn't, and deducting for absences.

Performance based acquisition discourages the use of such manning tables. But what else can you do when you have to contract for the performance of a function over the  course of a year in which the work ebbs and flows and it's not easy to get workers quickly on an as needed basis? Basically, you're hiring a workforce and specifying who and how many you want in it.

The government has never thought clearly about the specification and acquisition of services.

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This type situation is where market research comes to play.  Ask a few marketplace leaders what they think - what’s needed for companies to consider bidding, types of information they want, requirements history, best practices and lessons learned by others, type of contracts that make sense, etc.

Some other questions to ask within your office or other agencies - are there ways to perform the assessments differently from the incumbents or historical approaches?  Are there tools or techniques to improve performance or provide efficiencies?  Are other organizations doing similar type assessments and, if so, how do they get them done?

If done of this analysis shows anything beneficial from your current FFP pricing by a certain FTE level, stick with what you plan are doing.

 

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