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99-20

Procurement Information Circular


November 10, 1999

CONTRACTOR-GENERATED DATA

PURPOSE: To assure that necessary contractor-generated data are obtained contractually, and that unnecessary data are not.

PROBLEM: NASA managers are not obtaining all of the contractor-generated data they need to perform their duties with respect to the management of NASA projects and programs, maintaining official records, and reporting to other Government offices. Examples include:

1. The software Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility reported difficulty in obtaining software discrepancy data (e.g., problem reports, discrepancy reports, defect databases, anomalies, errors, faults) from contractors relative to program software development activities. This information is necessary in order to predict software latency rates, assess software test/method/practice effectiveness, and quantify Return On Investment (ROI) for software IV&V.

2. In recent years only half of the known facilities maintenance expenses were reflected in the NASA Financial and Contractual Status system. This problem has occurred in aerospace projects where facilities maintenance related expense is incidental relative to the overall cost of the project, and the contract does not require the explicit breakout of facilities maintenance data as part of the cost reporting requirement. The cumulative omission of that data is significant, and has necessitated a manual collection of the data. Manual collection is unnecessarily time consuming, and often arrives too late for inclusion in the budget cycle.

3. The resource management community has reported difficulty in obtaining contractor FTE data. Contractor FTE data is essential to support safety planning, as well as reporting requirements to the Office of Management and Budget, and to NASA internal offices, e.g., the Independent Annual Review teams, Program Management Council, and Institutional Program Offices.

Conversely, if there is no critical review of the planned contract data requirements with respect to the bona fide need to acquire the data, the Government risks incurring expenses that are substantial and unnecessary.

BACKGROUND: NASA needs to obtain data related to the performance of its contracts, e.g., to monitor contractor performance, to develop historical data for estimating the cost of follow-on work, to support budget requests, etc. Before Performance-based Contracting (PBC) became common, it was customary to obtain necessary data from the contractors informally. That is, when a need for data was identified that was not already covered under the contract data requirements list (CDRL), the contractor was simply requested to furnish the data. Under level-of-effort, cost reimbursement contracts, that simple arrangement was convenient and acceptable to both parties. However, under PBC, contractors tend, quite justifiably, to resist requests for effort not explicitly required by the contract because that effort will increase their baselined costs. It is necessary to do better advance planning when preparing to award a contract in order to make sure that all data needs are identified at the outset. The project/program office uses some of that data, and other data are used by functional or other organizations, such as the data that flows into the NASA Financial Management System from contractor NF 533 submissions. Therefore, it is important that all stakeholders have the opportunity to obtain the data that they need. Moreover, the Associate Administrator for Procurement is responsible for ensuring that contracts require contractors to provide functional management costs to be used in the NASA accounting system. These principles are already required by NASA policy referenced below.

Furthermore, when buying data, bear in mind that the purpose of a statement of work (SOW) is to describe the contractor's work, including a description of that work necessary to generate contract-required data. A Data Requirements Document (DRD) or Data Item Description (DID) should be used to describe the format and content of the data product(s) to be generated; and the CDRL should be used to describe the government's delivery instructions for the data.

Finally, contracting officers are reminded that the requirement for contractors to deliver data is material to contract performance. If data are not submitted as required by the contract, then the contracting officer should consider exercising appropriate contractual remedies.

SUMMARY: Contracting Officers must ensure that all stakeholders (financial management office, safety office, IV and V Facility, et al.) have had the opportunity to identify their needs for data. Specific data requirements documents may need to be developed/tailored to meet specific data requirements, and included in the contract as "deliverables". Please ensure that Center procedures provide for pre-contract data requirements review, and that that review considers both the inclusion of necessary data requirements and the exclusion of unnecessary data requirements.

POLICY REFERENCES: NPD 9501.1F, NASA Contractor Financial Management Reporting System; NPG 9501.2C, NASA Contractor Financial Management Reporting; NPD 8831.1B, Management of Facilities Maintenance; and NPD 2820.1, NASA Software Policies¹.

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

CANCELLATION: This PIC supersedes PIC 98-16, dated October 21, 1998, which is hereby cancelled.

HEADQUARTERS CONTACT: Kenneth A. Sateriale, Code HK, (202) 358-0491, e-mail: kenneth.sateriale@hq.nasa.gov.

 

R. Scott Thompson
Director, Contract Management Division

 

¹http://nodis.hq.nasa.gov/Library/Directives/NASA-WIDE/Policies/Legal_Policies/N_PD_2820_1.html