OFPP toughens training for contract oversight

The government officials who make sure contractors perform well have new training standards because of a push by the Obama administration to strengthen the acquisition workforce for better contract supervision.

The contracting officer’s representatives (CORs) have three levels of training that range from the simple contracts, such as supply contracts, to complex IT procurements, according to a memo from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Administrator Dan Gordon released Sept. 6.


Related story:

Federal acquisition training: Change is afoot


Agency officials must assign their CORs, which were formerly named Contracting Officer’s Technical Representatives (COTRs), to one of three levels.

Level I means a COR has eight hours of training, and no prior experience is required. This level of COR is generally appropriate for low-risk contracts and orders.

Level II requires 40 hours of training and one year of previous COR experience. This level of COR is generally appropriate managing projects for contract with moderate to high complexity, including both supply and service contracts.

Level III requires 60 hours of training and two years of previous COR experience. The COR must have experience working on contracts of moderate to high complexity that require significant acquisition investment.

Level III CORs are the most experienced CORs in an agency and should be assigned to the most complex and mission- critical contracts. They are often chosen to handle significant program management work.

CORs, who have been certified under the previous training program, likely have certain training that matches the new program's curriculum. As agencies transition from the single-tiered certification to the new levels of training, officials can assign their current CORs as Level II CORs, although officials have options to place them at Level III certification if they have the expertise, according to the memo.

CORs must ensure their training data is properly entered into the Federal Acquisition Institute Training Application System (FAITAS) by February 15, 2012. FAITAS is coming out this fall.

The Federal Acquisition Institute plans to launch a resource website for the COR by Oct. 31.

The new certification program does not apply to the Defense Department CORs.

OFPP changed the term from "Contracting Officer's Technical Representative," which civilian agencies have used, to "Contracting Officer's Representatives" to match the term used in the Federal Acquisition Regulation. CORs are often the first to recognize when a program or contract is not doing well, and, more and more, agencies assign them to manage high-value, complex contracts.

Gordon is pushing the training standards as part of his focus on the acquisition workforce and President Barack Obama’s procurement memo from 2009.

“Each member of the acquisition workforce plays a critical role, including Contracting Officer’s Representatives, who ensure that contractors meet the commitments of their contracts,” Gordon wrote.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.