Procurement Information Circular

October 31, 2000       


PURPOSE: To provide guidance on ordering procedures and contracting officer (CO) responsibilities for task and delivery order contracts and to encourage contracting officer technical representative (COTR) training for those technical personnel that will be involved with the preparation of and monitoring of task and delivery orders.

BACKGROUND: An assessment of NASA's implementation of Performance Based Contracting (PBC) was conducted in late 1999 and early 2000. The PBC Assessment Team report that contains the team's observations and recommendations may be viewed at:

A significant number of the contracts reviewed by the assessment team were task or delivery order type contracts. Some of the observations from the PBC Assessment Team and recent Procurement Management Survey Reports that pertain to task and delivery order contracts include the following:

1. (a) In some cases, COs had not reviewed task or delivery orders for compliance with the contract, and instead relied on the judgement of the COTR or technical monitor.

(b) In some cases, the methodology for placing task and delivery orders was inconsistent with contract requirements.

(c) There was often a lack of traceability between the work required by the order and the Statement of Work.

(d) Some task and delivery orders issued under contracts coded as being performance based were not written in a performance-based manner. For example, some orders reviewed did not have performance standards, had subjective performance standards that were characterized as objective, lacked clarity or had incomplete definition.

2. In some cases, the official contract file did not include copies of orders issued.

3. Unwarranted COTRs and/or technical monitors issued orders (or their equivalent, e.g., work requests, sub-task orders, work orders) for many contracts.

4. While most of NASA's COTRs appear to possess PBC knowledge obtained through COTR training, many technical monitors who have not had COTR training did not appear to have this knowledge.


1. COs are reminded of their responsibilities as spelled out in FAR 1.602-2, specifically as they apply to task and delivery orders issued under their contracts: "Contracting Officers are responsible for ensuring performance of all necessary actions for effective contracting, ensuring compliance with the terms of the contract, and safeguarding the interests of the United States in its contractual relationships."

Some examples of CO responsibilities under task and delivery order contracts include ensuring order placement methodology is consistent with the contract requirements, traceability between the work required by the order and the statement of work, and clarity of orders. In addition, COs are responsible for ensuring the appropriate use of PBC elements such as performance requirements, objective, measurable performance standards, contractor reward tied to results (e.g. positive or negative performance incentives), and methods of surveillance based on assessed risk. Furthermore, there should be a logical, easily understood relationship among the requirements, standards, surveillance methods, and incentives.

2. COs are reminded that task and delivery orders and supporting documentation must be a part of the official contract file. This will ensure that the FAR 4.801 file documentation requirements to provide a complete history of the transaction are satisfied. The purpose of this is to provide a complete background as a basis for informed decisions at each step in the acquisition process, support the actions taken, provide information for reviews and investigations, and furnish essential facts in the event of litigation or congressional inquiries (FAR 4.801(b)).

3. NFS 1816.505(a)(2) states that the contracting officer shall issue task and delivery orders. Procurement officers are reminded that NFS 1801.603-2 states that normally, only GS-1102 and 1105 personnel with the proper training and experience may be appointed contracting officers and only when a valid organizational need can be demonstrated. In certain exceptional circumstances, it may be appropriate to appoint non GS-1102 or 1105 personnel as contracting officers with highly limited warrants for the issuance of task or delivery orders. When non GS-1102 or 1105 contracting officers with highly limited warrants are appointed, procurement officers must ensure that the organizational need is documented, adequate procurement training has been provided and documented, and that clear instructions have been provided regarding the limits of their authority, in accordance with FAR 1.602-1.

4. Procurement officers should consider conducting COTR training for technical monitors. This will help to ensure that task and delivery orders are developed in a performance-based manner, with appropriate performance requirements and standards.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This PIC is effective as dated and shall remain in effect until canceled or superceded.

HEADQUARTERS CONTACT: Jeff Cullen, Code HK, (202) 358-1784, e-mail:


R. Scott Thompson
Director, Contract Management Division