ACC subject matter experts examine standardizing contract oversight, surveillance
March 20, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--Two questions--how is a contractor performing and how does the government know--formed the basis for a study examining standardizing contract oversight and surveillance.
Led by members of the ACC Operations Group Contracts Administration Division, the Contractor Oversight/Surveillance Integrated Process Team formed in February and began process mapping and researching best practices, according to Greg Stefanovic, acting quality assurance branch chief, ACC Operations Group, and IPT coordinator.
Stefanovic said the team's goal is to develop a standard set of processes, checklists and templates for contracting officer representatives to use in performing their contractor surveillance program. CORs are responsible for monitoring contractor performance and reporting that performance to the contracting officer, he added.
Subject matter experts from the Defense Acquisition University, the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence, the Army Audit Agency, The Expeditionary Contracting Command, ACC-New Jersey, ACC-Redstone, ACC-Rock Island, Ill., ACC-Warren, Mich., the Redstone Test Center and ACC Operations Group safety and quality assurance specialists make up the 19-member team. When participants from outside Redstone Arsenal are involved, they are participating via teleconferences and Defense Connect Online.
About 100 quality assurance specialists form the core of ACC's quality assurance program, he said. They are involved monitoring high-risk contracts--high-dollar contracts or contracts with a high degree of complexity, high risk of mission failure or risk to people he explained. CORs represent the bulk of the surveillance workforce.
"CORs are the contracting officer's eyes and ears," Stefanovic said. "They are the ones who ensure the contractor is delivering products or services according to the terms and conditions of the contract."
Roy Branch, an ACC quality assurance specialist and IPT team member, said the quality assurance process "always goes back to support of the war fighter.
"We want to get a product out there that's on time and without defects," he said. "That saves the Army money because defects cost money."
Regarding service contracts such as food services, Branch said the quality assurance focus is on keeping people healthy.
"When we ensure the contractor is delivering on time, meets requirements, without defects, we are a force multiplier," he said.
That is why the developing a standard set of policies, checklists and procedures is important for the surveillance mission, Stefanovic added.
"Our goal is to develop a standardized program that ACC organizations can use as a point of departure," he said. "We realize that construction contracts are handled differently than services contracts, but when performing surveillance, there are consistencies across contracts. We want to give the CORs a tool kit with checklists and templates that will help them know what to look for and how to report their findings back to the contracting officer."
Branch pointed out several recent news articles that said money could have been saved on government contracts with better oversight.
"Any defect is a cost," he said. "Either the product isn't right or the service is deficient, and that costs everybody."