OFPP issues policy requiring training for support workers

Employees assigned to support contracting officers now must meet common training standards, as procurement officials attempt to tie together the diverse parts of the acquisition process.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has set up a new program that establishes a training program for contracting officer technical representatives. It also standardizes the training and skills necessary for the job. The program requires COTRs to meet certain competencies for certification and maintain their certification through continuous learning.

COTRs follow up on contracts after they’re awarded, watching for problems that may arise. They also help the contracting officer and program manager keep things working smoothly.

“Federal acquisition process depends on the development of a capable and competent workforce,” Paul Denett, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, wrote in the memo.

Denett says COTRs too often start managing contracts with no experience.

From now on, though, COTRs assigned to a contract must be certified within six months from the time they’re given the task. Current COTRs must review their training in accordance with their agency’s policy, according to the memo.

“The COTR is the contracting officer’s right-hand resource,” Denett said in a statement. “The COTR is an essential part of the acquisition team and must be sufficiently trained.”

The program pushes COTRs to acquire professional skills, such as attention to detail, and technical skills, such as properly communicating contract requirements, according to the memo.

This is the third certification program developed by OFPP to improve training of the civilian acquisition workforce. The first two Federal Acquisition Certification programs established training and development requirements for contracting officers and program and project managers.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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