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Subpart 42.5—Postaward Orientation

42.500  Scope of subpart.

This subpart prescribes policies and procedures for the postaward orientation of contractors and subcontractors through—

(a) A conference; or

(b) A letter or other form of written communication.

42.501  General.

(a) A postaward orientation aids both Government and contractor personnel to (1) achieve a clear and mutual understanding of all contract requirements, and (2) identify and resolve potential problems. However, it is not a substitute for the contractor’s fully understanding the work requirements at the time offers are submitted, nor is it to be used to alter the final agreement arrived at in any negotiations leading to contract award.

(b) Postaward orientation is encouraged to assist (see part 19)—

(1) Small business concerns;

(2) Small disadvantaged business concerns;

(3) Veteran-owned small business concerns;

(4) Service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns;

(5) HUBZone small business concerns; and

(6) Women-owned small business concerns (including economically disadvantaged women-owned small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns eligible under the Women-Owned Small Business Program).

(c) While cognizant Government or contractor personnel may request the contracting officer to arrange for orientation, it is up to the contracting officer to decide whether a postaward orientation in any form is necessary.

(d) Maximum benefits will be realized when orientation is conducted promptly after award.

42.502  Selecting contracts for postaward orientation.

When deciding whether postaward orientation is necessary and, if so, what form it shall take, the contracting officer shall consider, as a minimum, the—

(a) Nature and extent of the preaward survey and any other prior discussions with the contractor;

(b) Type, value, and complexity of the contract;

(c) Complexity and acquisition history of the product or service;

(d) Requirements for spare parts and related equipment;

(e) Urgency of the delivery schedule and relationship of the product or service to critical programs;

(f) Length of the planned production cycle;

(g) Extent of subcontracting;

(h) Contractor’s performance history and experience with the product or service;

(i) Contractor’s status, if any, as a small business, small disadvantaged, women-owned, veteran-owned, HUBZone, or service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern;

(j) Contractor’s performance history with small, small disadvantaged, women-owned, veteran-owned, HUBZone, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business subcontracting programs;

(k) Safety precautions required for hazardous materials or operations; and

(l) Complex financing arrangements, such as progress payments, advance payments, or guaranteed loans.

42.503  Postaward conferences.

42.503-1  Postaward conference arrangements.

(a) The contracting officer who decides that a conference is needed is responsible for—

(1) Establishing the time and place of the conference;

(2) Preparing the agenda, when necessary;

(3) Notifying appropriate Government representatives (e.g., contracting/contract administration office) and the contractor;

(4) Designating or acting as the chairperson;

(5) Conducting a preliminary meeting of Government personnel; and

(6) Preparing a summary report of the conference.

(b) When the contracting office initiates a conference, the arrangements may be made by that office or, at its request, by the contract administration office.

42.503-2  Postaward conference procedure.

The chairperson of the conference shall conduct the meeting. Unless a contract change is contemplated, the chairperson shall emphasize that it is not the purpose of the meeting to change the contract. The contracting officer may make commitments or give directions within the scope of the contracting officer’s authority and shall put in writing and sign any commitment or direction, whether or not it changes the contract. Any change to the contract that results from the postaward conference shall be made only by a contract modification referencing the applicable terms of the contract. Participants without authority to bind the Government shall not take action that in any way alters the contract. The chairperson shall include in the summary report (see 42.503-3) all information and guidance provided to the contractor.

42.503-3  Postaward conference report.

The chairperson shall prepare and sign a report of the postaward conference. The report shall cover all items discussed, including areas requiring resolution, controversial matters, the names of the participants assigned responsibility for further actions, and the due dates for the actions. The chairperson shall furnish copies of the report to the contracting office, the contract administration office, the contractor, and others who require the information.

42.504  Postaward letters.

In some circumstances, a letter or other written form of communication to the contractor may be adequate postaward orientation (in lieu of a conference). The letter should identify the Government representative responsible for administering the contract and cite any unusual or significant contract requirements. The rules on changes to the contract in 42.503-2 also apply here.

42.505  Postaward subcontractor conferences.

(a) The prime contractor is generally responsible for conducting postaward conferences with subcontractors. However, the prime contractor may invite Government representatives to a conference with subcontractors, or the Government may request that the prime contractor initiate a conference with subcontractors. The prime contractor should ensure that representatives from involved contract administration offices are invited.

(b) Government representatives—

(1) Must recognize the lack of privity of contract between the Government and subcontractors;

(2) Shall not take action that is inconsistent with or alters subcontracts; and

(3) Shall ensure that any changes in direction or commitment affecting the prime contract or contractor resulting from a subcontractor conference are made by written direction of the contracting officer to the prime contractor in the same manner as described in 42.503-2.

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