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Julia Wise
(202) 208-1168

Rhonda W. Cundiff
(202) 501-0044


Acquisition Best Practices of Numerous Federal Agencies.

As government agencies implement reinvention policies, they may develop promising practices that may be applied by other organizations, thus becoming Best Practices. Several web sites have established categories relating to Acquisition Best Practices. Some are listed below along with a short description of the best practices, along with "links" to their site.

The Acquisition/Procurement Best Practices ( site contains links to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Best Practices Documents and other Federal Agency Best Practices Documents.

Past Performance Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Best Practices Documents for PAST PERFORMANCE, May 2000 or choose the document in Word Format (Updated 10/05/00). These policies and procedures are contained in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Parts 9, 12, 13, 15, 36 and 42. FAR PART 36 provides specific procedures, dollar thresholds, and forms for evaluation of A&E and construction contracts; however, Contracting Officers are still encouraged to evaluate past performance on these contracts if they exceed $100,000. This Best Practices Guide adds further background and assistance in implementing the FAR provisions.

Best Practices for Collecting and Using Current and Past Performance Information (OFPP) (May 2000). How well the Government's acquisition teams administer in-process contracts and discuss with contractors their current performance, determines to a great extent how well agencies can achieve their missions. The 1994 Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA), signaled a "sea change" in Federal acquisition. FASA was signed into law by the President on October 13, 1994. In FASA, Congress acknowledged that it is appropriate and relevant for the Government to consider a contractor's past performance in evaluating whether that contractor should receive future work. Past Performance. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has created a new contractor performance system that has won kudos from acquisitions personnel both here and within HHS. A 1994 law conceded that it is both "appropriate and relevant for the federal government to consider a contractor's past performance in evaluating whether that contractor should receive future government work."

Past Performance. This document discusses the Treatment of Past Performance in the Solicitation Phase; the role of past performance in source evaluation and selection; establishing coherent past performance repositories; contractor access and reclamation rights; and purging past performance data.

Past Performance Procurement Regulations & Directives - Evaluation of Contractor Performance.

General Services Administration: Past Performance Evaluation web page. Past Performance Evaluation`pr/pastwpes.htm

Past information from the Department of Commerce.

The Defense Acquisition University. This website provides a single portal for easy access to a multitude of continuous learning opportunities, performance support and information.

Department of Defense Deskbook includes a variety of acquisition information.

Best Practices for MULTIPLE AWARD TASK AND DELIVERY ORDER CONTRACTING, Interim Edition, July 1997. To help agencies better understand this contracting approach, this interim document highlights best practices in key phases of the multiple award contracting process including, among other areas, the "fair opportunity to be considered" requirement and streamlined ordering processes. Many of the examples and best practices pertain to the information technology industry. These practices may or may not be applicable to other industries, but agencies are encouraged to use them, as appropriate.

Best Practices for CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION, October 1994. Contract Administration involves those activities performed by government officials after a contract has been awarded to determine how well the government and the contractor performed to meet the requirements of the contract. It encompasses all dealings between the government and the contractor from the time the contract is awarded until the work has been completed and accepted or the contract terminated, payment has been made, and disputes have been resolved. As such, contract administration constitutes that primary part of the procurement process that assures the government gets what it paid for.

Acquisition Best Practices for state and local Governments in the following areas. and

Management and Government Innovations. This site lists the award winners of Ford Foundation's Program on Innovations in American Government. The program each year honors public initiatives that are exemplars of public sector innovation--both because of what they have accomplished and how they have accomplished it.

Best Practices of City Governments -- Managerial Innovations. This will allow you to search the USCM Best Practices area exclusively. Our goal is to help you find the Best Practices information you need quickly and accurately.

Benchmarking Clearinghouse Spotlight Essentially, this Clearinghouse is a centralized database and a resource where Department of Energy contractors and Federal employees can share Best Practices, Pilot Programs, Innovative Approaches and Lessons Learned in the areas of property and procurement.

Year 2000 Clearinghouse Best Practices This clearinghouse creates a single repository of Y2K information to assist the public, business, academia, Federal, state and local governments in obtaining various Y2K information.

The Source Selection Handbook. This handbook provides GSA contracting activities with guidance on using trade-off source selection procedures and advice on how to apply various source selection techniques. The objective is to select and use an appropriate source selection technique to ensure that we are not "penny-wise and pound-foolish." (Web address to be determined.)

FSS web site. There is a wealth of information about getting on the schedules program at our web site at Click on "Commercial Services and Products on GSA Schedules." The Contractor's Guide is intended to help vendors understand how to participate in the Federal Supply Service Multiple Award Schedules program. Though the Guide is not a regulation, it is meant to provide assistance and guidance to the vendor community, not to serve as a vendor's only source of information.

Section 508 Section 508-applies to all federal agencies. Section 508 prohibits federal agencies, with only limited exceptions (see FAR 39.2), from developing, acquiring, using, or maintaining electronic and information technology that are inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. Recently, the Honorable Thomas M. Davis III, Chairman, Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy of the House Committee on Government Reform, expressed his concerns about reports of agency clauses incorporated in solicitations that purportedly asks vendors to certify that products or services offered meet the Access Board standards. The Office of Acquisition Policy has made it clear that agencies should not require such certifications. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has opened FAR Case No. 2001 to explore the need for and possible content of a Section 508 contract clause. It is also looking into extending the micro-purchase sunset provision.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy sponsors a Section 508 Working Group. This group is composed of members from all executive agencies as well as the U. S. Postal Service. The Frequently Asked Questions found at: were developed and vetted through this group. The website is also a gateway to find information on every aspect of the law. Training is also available on the website for program offices as well as acquisition offices.

Many agencies have developed guidance for their agencies. A short list is as follows:

Treasury (,

U.S. Department of Agriculture (

U.S. Patent and Trademark (

Department of Veterans Affairs (

Department of Justice ( ( NASA (


The Access Board has developed a Guide to the Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology. It is located at:

Performance-Based Contracting Government-wide Guidance:

Best Practices For PERFORMANCE-BASED SERVICE CONTRACTING, Final Edition, October 1998. OFPP's 1998 Guide To Best Practices For Performance-Based Service Contracting this document contains best practices that have proven useful for drafting statements of work, solicitations, and quality assurance plans, and in awarding and administering performance-based service contracts. Many of these practices were identified through the government wide Office of Federal Procurement Policy PBSC Pledge Program. This document is neither mandatory regulatory guidance, nor is it intended to serve as a detailed "how to" manual. Such manuals exist already, and citations to them are included at Appendix 1.

The Seven Steps to Performance Based Services Acquisition Guide is an online tool designed to assist the acquisition professional in using performance-based contracting techniques for service acquisitions. This web-based tool teaches you how to do a performance-based service acquisition in 7-steps.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy: A Guide to Best Practices for Performance-Based Service Contracting, OFPP (October 1998)

This document contains best practices that have proven useful for drafting statements of work, solicitations, and quality assurance plans, and in awarding and administering performance-based service contracts. Many of these practices were identified through the government wide Office of Federal Procurement Policy PBSC Pledge Program. This document is neither mandatory regulatory guidance, nor is it intended to serve as a detailed "how to" manual. Such manuals exist already, and citations to them are included at Appendix 1.

The purpose of this publication is to assist agencies in developing policies and procedures for implementing PBSC. The practices contained herein were derived from the experiences of contracting personnel in both government and industry. This information was gathered from interviews, articles, and existing government guidance.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy: OFPP Policy Letter 93-1, "Management Oversight of Service Contracting." This Policy Letter establishes Government-wide policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides guiding principles for Executive Departments and agencies in managing the acquisition and use of services. Office of Federal Procurement Policy: "A Report on the Performance-Based Service Contracting Pilot Project," May 1998. This report describes a governmentwide pilot project to implement Performance-Based Service Contracting (PBSC) methods on contracts for recurring services, and to measure PBSC's impact. This project tests the hypothesis, based on anecdotal evidence, that PBSC saves money and brings about contractor performance that better supports mission attainment.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy: "Performance-Based Service Contracting (PBSC) Solicitation/Contract/Task Order Review Checklist." Checklist of elements to be included in a Performance-Based Service Contract.

OFPP PBSC for Automated Data Processing (ADP) Maintenance Services-sample PBSC contract.

OFPP PBSC for Software Development Contracts - sample PBSC contract.

OFPP PBSC for Telephone Call Center Operations - sample PBSC contract.

OFPP PBSC for Language Training Services - sample PBSC contract.

Agency Guidance:

Department of the Army, "Constructing Successful Business Relationships: Innovation in Contractual Incentives."

Department of Defense, "Guidebook for Performance-Based Services Acquisition (PBSA) in the Department of Defense" (December 2000)

Department of Defense, Defense Systems Management College, "Implementing Acquisition Reform: A Case Study on Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM)" May 1998.

Department of Defense, "Handbook for Preparation of Statement of Work," MIL-HDBK-245D (verified as current 5 April 00).

Department of Energy, "Performance-Based Contracting Guide," June 1998.

Department of Navy, Navy Acquisition Reform Office: "Service Contracting: A Desk Guide to Best Practices," 1998. (HTML report. See Links for web-based format.)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration: "Statement of Work: Guidance for Writing Work Statements," December 1997

Department of Defense, Defense Standardization Program: "Performance Specification Guide," SD15, June 29, 1995

Department of the Treasury, "Performance-Based Service Contracting," by Ronne Rogin.

Other Agency Links:

Department of Air Force, AF Contracting Toolkit: Services Part 37. The Air Force "toolkit" site that provides additional information organized around FAR parts, in this case FAR Part 37. It includes links to government-wide and Air Force policy, templates for performance work statements, training information, and links to other sites.

Department of Air Force, AF Contracting Toolkit: Performance Work Statements. Links to Performance Work Statements in several categories, including food services; civil engineering services of many types (custodial, landscaping, maintenance, and ADP services); and quality assurance plans for mess attendant services, logistics data, technical order library, and materiel control.

Department of the Air Force, Air Force Logistics Management Agency: Performance-Based Service Contracting training web site. Performance-based training, both web-based and downloadable files. Department of Army, Headquarters Army Materiel Command, Performance-based Contracting web page. This Army AMC site includes definitions, points of contact, guidance documents (mostly Army), links to training and other related sites, and samples in such areas as environmental support, environmental site assessment, ADPE maintenance, and custodial services.

OFPP Policy Documents: Performance-Based Service Contracting (PBSC) documents. This is the site where the Office of Federal Procurement Policy posts its performance-based documents. It includes templates for four categories of performance work statements: Automated Data Processing (ADP) Maintenance Services, Software Development Contracts, Telephone Call Center Operations, and Language Training Services

Department of Navy: Performance Based Services Acquisition web page.

Department of Navy, Navy Acquisition Reform Office: SpecRight web page.

Department of Navy: Performance-Based RFP: Writing Performance-Based RFP's (PBRFP) Course Materials. This site contains Navy training materials for writing performance-based RFPs. General Services Administration: Performance Measurement web page. This is one-stop source of information related to the development and use of performance measures. < a href=""> General Services Administration: Performance Based Services Acquisition web page. This page provides valuable information that can help the acquisition professional develop a performance-based contract.

HHS KnowNet: Performance-Based Contracting Desk Reference on the Web, main entry page at Synopsis: A rich, evolving, and complex site on performance-based contracting. It includes both instructional information and "performance information" (samples, for example). An index of the site appears at

AFLMA on-line PBSC tool designed to assist the public with the elements of performance-based contracting.

Department of Navy, Navy Turbo Streamliner.

Department of Navy, Navy Acquisition Reform Office: Performance-Based RFP: Writing Performance-Based RFP's (PBRFP) Course Materials.

Department of Navy, Navy Acquisition Reform Office: "Service Contracting: A Desk Guide to Best Practices," 1998. < a href=""> (Web-based version. See Library for html report format.)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Performance-Based Contracting web page.

Department of Transportation, Performance-Based Contracting web page.

Simplified Acquisition

1. Army deskbook instructions related to simplified acquisitions:

2. Response from DOD, "What is the legal definition of a split purchase?":

3. Response from DOD, "Under what circumstances can a government credit card be used to procure items on an FMS case?":

4. Response from DOD, "When does the Credit Card (Open Purchase) take priority?":

5. Response from DOD re: Credit Card Purchases:

6. Checklist for Blanket Purchase Agreements:

7. Checklist for Purchase Orders:

8. Article, December 10, 2001 Bill gives broad procurement authority to help agencies fight terrorism:

Commercial Items

1. DOD Commercial Item Handbook:

The purpose of the Handbook is to help acquisition personnel develop sound business strategies for procuring commercial items. The Handbook focuses on how market research and cross-competency teaming can increase the Government's cost-effective use of commercial items. The Handbook offers suggestions on questions to ask, and it points to additional sources of information, sources of training, and available tools. The Handbook is designed to be a practical reference tool for use in commercial item acquisitions. Appendix B defines terms used in the Handbook. Some topics that the Handbook covers are sample commercial item checklist, sample market research report, pricing support resources, and market research questions.

2. Commercial Item Acquisition: - Considerations and Lessons Learned (DOD):

This document is designed to assist as you acquire and support commercial items. It provides an overview of the considerations inherent in such acquisitions and summarizes lessons learned from a wide variety of programs. Key lessons learned include embracing commercial business practices, discussion of the gap between DoD and commercial use,, buy-in from key stakeholders, and new approaches to program management. The document also includes a discussion on evaluating commercial items and working with contractors and vendors.

3. Commercial Pricing Information Guide (DOD):

This document includes the definition of commercial item, acquiring items in the commercial marketplace, key factors to consider in buying commercial, market conditions and pricing, order of priority for requesting cost and pricing data to determine fair and reasonable prices, price factors to consider in market research, and sources of pricing information and support.

4. Evaluating the Price of Commercial Items in a Sole Source Environment:

Includes definition of commercial items and sole-source acquisitions, market research and its techniques, who conducts market research, market research essential to evaluating sole-source commercial items, tools used in evaluating prices of commercial items (historical trend analysis, cost estimating relationships, best value versus cheapest price, variations in quantity, independent government estimates, percentage of sales test, spare parts breakout, and recurring versus non-recurring considerations), internet-based research, and off-the shelf decision support products.

5. GAO decision re: nonexistent of market price indicating non-commerciality:

GAO decision determines that there was no market price for radioactive waste disposal services. The key element of a market price is that it "can be substantiated from sources independent of the offeror."

6. COTS Lessons Learned (DOD):

Lessons Learned (2000) is a very good source that includes key lessons learned covering commercial business practices, evaluation of commercial items, working with contractors and vendors, and engineering for life-cycle support. It includes a different paradigm of system acquisition rather than the traditional model (system context, architecture and design, and implementation). For acquisition of systems, it is recommended that the acquisition team consider lessons learned from this handbook.


Provides information that contractors need to provide to assist in the evaluation of commercial items to make a commerciality determination as well as a determination of Market Acceptance as defined in FAR 11.103. The information at this site addresses the acquisition of repair services and replenishment spare parts and components. Categories include requirements for the acquisition of the same item, modified item, and new item.

8. Commercial Acquisition and Practices in the Department of Defense (ABA)

Addresses the changes made in DoD as a result of FASA and FARA. Acquisition of commercial items consistent with commercial practices requires consideration of three parts of the FAR: Part 10, Market Research, Part 11, Describing Agency's Needs, and Part 12, Acquisition of Commercial Items. This site discusses pilot programs as a result of FASA including the expanded use of the government-wide purchase card. The site addresses single process initiative, integrated product teams, and potential return on investment.

9. Response from DOD, "What document is required to support a commercial type classification decision?":

Self-explanatory but is most applicable to the military.

10. Response from DOD, "What are the CCR Requirements when using the Government wide Commercial Purchase Card?":

Self-explanatory but response is a military response as it references the DFAR.

11. Response from DOD, "Commercial or Non-commercial...?":

Answers commerciality concerns when the services are performed are military unique. This scenario can be used in the civilian arena also. Government unique equipment and services are not a factor in determining whether or not they are commercial. Many of the services performed in a unique way for the government are identical to those performed in the commercial marketplace. Generally, those services should be purchased on a fixed price basis using FAR Part 12 as well. What needs to be addressed in your specific procurement is whether the services meet the commercial definition or whether the requirement is unique to the military or civilian government environment.

12. Response from DOD, Cost Breakdown for Commercial Repairs:

Question asked: Is there any guidance in the FAR/DFAR regarding repairs of commercial items, particularly the support required to be submitted by the contractor? Answer refers you to 52.222-48 Exemption from Application of Services Contract Act Provisions for Maintenance, (Aug. 1996) Calibration, and/or Repair of Certain Information Technology, Scientific and Medical and/or Office and Business Equipment -- Contractor Certification.

13. Response from DOD, Commercial Item Determinations:

Asks if there a requirement, in the FAR or other federal regulation or law, to make a written determination for the contracting file when procuring a commercial item? Answer: There is no requirement in the FAR, DFARS or statute that requires the contracting officer to make a written determination when procuring a commercial item.

14. Gathering information on commercial items:

Complements FAR Part 10, Market Research. Discusses the purpose and reasons for market research, the when and the who for market research, how to perform market research through the sum of two interrelated processes: market surveillance and market investigation, communicating the requirement to industry, market research using product samples, the six parts of a market investigation, six principles for the market research process, computer-based resources for product and service information, and topics to cover in a market investigation. The site offers examples of information you might provide the suppliers to help them to effectively respond to the survey. These examples are not intended to be a complete collection of topics to be covered in a survey nor are they expected to be used in every survey. Each survey should be tailored to the particular needs of the acquisition and the information already available to the government.

Patents and Copyrights

Intellectual Property: Navigating Through Commercial Waters:

This guide was created for the Government acquisition community and its industry partners as a tool to equip them with new ideas and solutions to address the intellectual property issues that affect the negotiation process. The site includes a description of the fundamental principles and concepts of negotiating intellectual property rights, a foundational framework of intellectual property's key aspects and its treatment and its treatment in Government contracting, a description of the various planning activities, especially market research, that may reduce intellectual property related problems later in the acquisition process, and a description of the major intellectual property issues that keep some companies from responding to Government solicitations as well as possible solutions to attract their involvement.

Last Modified 03/20/03
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