August 04, 2014

Checklist and Award Summaries

Checklist and Award Summaries

In general, these documents are not for the benefit of the person maintaining the file - these documents are required to effectively and efficiently communicate file documentation at a glance to parties required to review the file on a post-award basis. As a result, I encourage everyone to seriously consider the following suggestions on these two documents as they come directly from the results of dozens of CPSRs (five of them occurring this calendar year). 

Before we begin - there should be no pride of authorship in documents written to fulfill government requirements. Please remember that your ego and/or "the way your company has always done it" are not anywhere near as important as the happiness and satisfaction of your review team. Now - on to suggestions! 

Checklists - these should operate as: (a) a list of tasks completed during the procurement activity; (b) a summary of the six primary elements of the procurement used to determine documentation requirements (Ceiling Value; Company Size; Contract Type; Competition; Commerciality; DPAS Rating); and (c) a chronological table of contents for the file. 

In the past I've allowed for two primary types of file organization - chronological and thematic. I'm revising that given comments received during recent CPSRs - chronological is the way to go. Any organization other than chronological must be learned during the review and therefore adds time (and frustration) to the review process. I strongly urge that you do not maintain file documentation in a way that might frustrate your review team!

Award Summaries: There is some ambiguity out there regarding when an award summary is appropriate. As a reviewer, I expect to see (a) a checklist for all files exceeding $3K; and (b) an Award Summary at some point if it's a noncommercial and/or noncompetitive procurement exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold. 

As a reviewer (with a timeline for file review completion) I DEFINITELY want to see an Award Summary when public law requirements start stacking up. Please consider award summaries to replace any memorandums you think are required to explain a conspicuous lack of documentation (CAS not needed because award to SB; TINA compliance not required because prime was not required to submit cert of current cost or pricing with its proposal, etc.). Reviewers don't need a separate memo - they just need a valid explanation documented centrally in the file for ease of access. Arguably this more effectively and efficiently accomplished via Award Summary rather than one-by-one memos papering the file.

Hope these suggestions help lend some clarity and focus to your file structure!