NOAA Acquisition Manual

Main Table of Contents

Subchapter I- Contracting Oversight

Part 1330-70 Contract Oversight Program

1330-70.000 Scope

1330-70.001 Flow of Contracting Authority

1330-70.002 Roles and Responsibilities

Subpart 1330-70.1 Contract Oversight Program

1330-70.101 Documentation and Approval Procedures

1330-70.102 CRB Reviews

1330-70.103 Legal Reviews

Subpart 1330-70.2 Acquisition Management Reviews

1330-70.201 Purpose

1330-70.202 Responsibilities

1330-70.203 Procedures

1330-70.204 Frequency of Reviews

Subpart 1330-70.3 NOAA AGO Ombudsman

1330-70.301 Purpose

1330-70.302 Definition

1330-70.303 Policy

1330-70.304 Solicitation and Contract Language

 

 

Part 1330-70 Contract Oversight Program

1330-70.000 Scope

This part describes the NOAA contract oversight program. The contract oversight program is intended to provide effective oversight in order to ensure the highest quality and integrity of procurement actions and provide timely and cooperative support for timely and effective procurement processing.

1330-70.001 Flow of Contracting Authority

Department Administrative Order (DAO 208-2) establishes clear lines of contracting authority and accountability within Commerce including delegations of contracting authority to NOAA. Contracting authorities are also defined in CAM 1301.70 and are delegated to NOAA as follows:


(a) The Deputy Under-Secretary for Operations is designated as the NOAA HCA under DAO 208-2 and has overall responsibility and accountability for procurements initiated in support of NOAA’s programs and activities,

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(b) The Deputy Under-Secretary for Operations delegates contracting authority to the AGO Director to be the BPO who carries out the day-to-day functions of managing NOAA’s contracting activities,


(c) The BPO delegates contracting authority by issuing certificates of appointment to HCOs and contracting officers that provide clear, written instructions to an individual authorizing them to perform the duties of a contracting officer to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and to make related determinations and findings, and


(d) HCOs delegate authority to individual employees to make purchases with the Government purchase card for their respective organizations.

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1330-70-002 Roles and Responsibilities

(a) The BPO and the HCOs share management responsibility for ensuring the quality and effectiveness of NOAA’s acquisition system and the integrity of contract actions.


(b) The BPO and the HCOs shall establish and maintain an effective organizational structure, procedures, policies, and oversight processes, with appropriately staffed internal policy and oversight functions.


(c) The POD reports to the BPO and performs the following functions:

  1. Pre-award reviews of contract actions prior to submission for review and approval by the BPO,
  2. Periodic Acquisition Management Reviews to identify compliance relative to prescribed statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements as well as to identify and share leading practices and lessons learned across the NOAA acquisition community,
  3. Monitor developments in acquisition policy and regulations; prepare and disseminate acquisition policy, procedures, guidance, templates, and samples; and conduct internal acquisition training,
  4. Manages the Field Delegate Program, which includes providing day-to-day guidance; conducts record reviews; and oversees biannual Field Delegate training conferences,
  5. Administers the NOAA Purchase Card Program by performing oversight functions, such as but not limited to managing purchase card training, examining claims of fraud or abuse, resolving billing discrepancies, and managing purchase card accounts, and
  6. Coordinates NOAA AGO Data Call and NOAA AGO FOIA request information.

(d) OGC CLD performs legal reviews of acquisition documentation and proposed contract actions. In addition, OGC CLD provides advice, counsel, and recommendations, and addresses any specific acquisition issues requested by AGO.

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Subpart 1330-70.1 Contract Oversight Program

1330-70.101 Documentation and Approval Procedures

(a) The contracting officer is responsible for documenting that each contract action constitutes effective contracting and complies with applicable regulations, policies, contract terms, and NOAA approval requirements, while safeguarding the interests of the United States in its contractual relationships.

(b) The contracting officer shall:

  1. Use the AGO Review and Approval Matrix to determine roles and responsibilities and minimum dollar thresholds for required reviews, concurrences, and approvals of proposed contract actions and the accountable official, and
  2. Review all assigned solicitations, contracts, and
    modifications, regardless of dollar value, prior to submission for review and approval in accordance with the AGO Review and Approval Matrix and prior to issue or award.

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(c) Under no circumstances may the individual who signs the contract instrument as the contracting officer perform final review and approval of that contract action if:

  1. The contracting officer is also the contract specialist processing the acquisition as defined in 1330-1.602-2(a)(2), and
  2. The action is expected to exceed the dollar level(s) set forth in the Certificate of Appointment or the AGO Review and Approval Matrix.
(d) Submission of documents for review:
  1. The contracting officer – or designee who serves as originator of the submission for review shall
    1. Prepare all review packages to ensure the package contains all relevant documentation prior to submission for review,
    2. Ensure that all contractual actions are complete and the documents pertaining to solicitations, awards, and modifications are executed and complete prior to seeking review and approval, and
    3. Provide an acquisition file to serve as the stand-alone summary that accurately, clearly, and fully supports the decisions made relative to that acquisition.
  2. For actions to be reviewed that are below the threshold for review by the Contract Review Board (CRB), the originator shall forward the contract file with-the following forms placed on top to each individual/office cited on the form in the order presented on the form for review and approval:
    1. Solicitation Review and Approval,
    2. Award Review and Approval, and
    3. Modification Review and Approval.

(e) Disposition of comments.
The originator shall ensure the following:

  1. All files indicate the completion of review and approvals by the appropriate level utilizing the applicable review and approval form,
  2. All approval decisions and resolution of all comments, if any, are in writing and attached to the review and approval form and placed in the acquisition file under the appropriate tab, and
  3. All “substantive” issues are resolved prior to either release of the solicitation or the award (basic or modification) document.

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1330-70.102 CRB Reviews

(a) Purpose

The CRB provides an independent review of proposed significant contract actions prior to advertisement of the action and prior to execution (signature) by the contracting officer. The CRB supplements, and does not replace, normal supervisory and contracting officer responsibilities.

(b) Organization

  1. Each Acquisition Management Division may determine the exact composition of the CRB according to the following criteria:
    1. The CRB shall be composed of no less than the chairperson and two additional board members,
    2. The CRB chairperson shall be an Acquisition Division Director, Deputy Division Director, or designee possessing a Level III certification,
    3. Of the two additional board members, at least one board member shall be classified in the GS-1102 series, a GS-12 or higher, and possess a Level II certification, and,
    4. A contractor employee serving as the other board member is permissible.

(c) CRB review thresholds

The AGO Review and Approval Matrix provides the thresholds for the various actions by type and value.

(d) CRB review and conduct of meetings.
  1. The CRB shall review documentation to ensure that the proposed action, when properly executed, will:
    1. Ensure all actions meet the highest quality standards,

    2. Comply with established acquisition policies,  procedures, and regulations

    3. Reflect sound business judgement, and

    4. Be in the best interest of the Government
  2. The CRB shall conduct coordination/summary meetings as needed/appropriate.

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(e) Process

  1. Submission of documents
    1. The originator shall forward the contract file with-the following forms placed on top of the acquisition file to the chairperson and each member cited on the form in the order presented on the form for review and approval:
      1. Solicitation Review and Approval (CRB),
      2. Award Review and Approval (CRB), and
      3. Modification Review and Approval (CRB).
    2. The originator shall include the following file documentation:
      1. For all sole-source procurement actions, submit the Justification for Other Than Full and Open Competition and any supporting documentation (e.g., results of FedBizOpps notice, market research, statute, etc.),
      2. For all solicitations, all documents prepared prior to solicitation (e.g., justifications, required approvals/clearances, determinations and findings, FedBizOpps notice, set-aside determinations, etc.),
      3. For all proposed contract awards, all pre-award documentation (evaluations, Competitive Range Determinations, Source Selection Determinations, etc.),
      4. For all post-award actions, all associated pre-award and post-award documentation related to the acquisition action-,
      5. Any actions being submitted for an SBPO review or approval that cites a statute, regulation, or an authority other than the FAR, Commerce Acquisition Regulation, Department of Commerce Procurement Memorandum,  NOAA AGO Acquisition Alerts or Instructions, or the NOAA Acquisition Manual, shall include a copy of the referenced citation within the SBPO review package submission;
      6. Ensure all documents pertaining to the action are to, at a minimum, be signature ready for signatures external to the Acquisition Division prior to the CRB; and
      7. The reviewer, at their, may require the submission of any additional documentation necessary to complete the review.

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  1. Disposition of comments
    The contracting officer and assignee shall comply with the CRB recommendations and make the required revisions. No further CRB review is required prior to release.
  2. Documentation
    1. The approval, disapproval, or conditional approval of the document by the CRB shall be reflected on the Review Form.
    2. Each CRB reviewer shall affix his/her signature and date to denote approval and concurrence with the decision.
    3. Conditional approval shall be granted by checking the appropriate block, signing by participating reviewers and identifying all conditions, in writing, that must be completed before the action is released.
    4. The contracting officer shall document any disagreements with the CRB recommendations on the contract file.

(f) Waiver of CRB review requirement

  1. The contracting officer may submit a written request to the HCO for a waiver of CRB review for any action. The request shall state the reasons why the waiver is necessary.
  2. After receipt of the written request, the HCO may grant waiver of the CRB Requirement and shall provide a copy of all waivers granted to the BPO.

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1330-70.103 Legal Reviews

(a) The purpose of the legal review is to obtain OGC CLD’s legal advice, counsel, and review on acquisition documentation and contract actions.

(b) Request for a legal review.

  1. A contracting officer shall request a legal review in accordance with the review and approval requirements and thresholds in CAM 1301.71, Legal Review of Acquisition Related Actions.
  2. NOAA contracting officers may request legal reviews not specifically required by 1301.71 when they deem a review or advice is advisable as follows:
    1. Recommend a course of action to overcome any deficiencies, and
    2. Address any specific acquisition issues the contracting officer identifies.
  3. To request a legal opinion, the contracting officer or assignee shall follow the policy within CAM 1301.71 Section 4.1

(c) Documentation. The contracting officer shall:

  1. Include the OGC CLD written review in the contract file.
  2. Document the contracting officer's decision to proceed without OGC CLD comments that it is not in the program's best interest to wait for legal review. This shall be initialed by the contracting officer.

(d) Timeline

  1. All procurement milestone and acquisition plans for actions requiring OGC CLD review shall incorporate 10 business days for completion of legal review at the time of the request for legal review.

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Subpart 1330-70.2 Acquisition Management Reviews

1330-70.201 Purpose

The purpose of the Acquisition Management Review program is to ensure the following:

(a) Oversight and compliance of acquisition functions with applicable federal laws and regulations, as well as Department of Commerce and NOAA policies and procedures, and

(b) Leading practices and lessons learned are shared across all acquisition functions within NOAA and result in organizational learning and process improvements.

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1330-70.202 Responsibilities

(a) The POD shall perform the following:

  1. Conduct reviews of NOAA contracting offices under the Acquisition Management Review Program,
  2. Document and share the specific results of a review with the respective contracting personnel, complete any
    necessary corrective actions to close out of the review, and
  3. Share leading practices and lessons learned across NOAA’s contracting offices.
(b) The HCO of the Acquisition Division under review shall perform the following:
  1. Ensure that all files selected for review are collected and made available for review,
  2. Provide adequate space for reviewers and any other required administrative support,
  3. Prepare and submit the corrective action plan within the established timeframe, and
  4. Ensure timely completion of all required corrective actions.

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1330-70.203 Procedures

See Acquisition Management Review Program for the AMR Program procedures.

1330-70.204 Frequency of Reviews

(a) Each AGO Acquisition Division shall be reviewed every two years and more frequently if significant areas of non-compliance are found during a review.

(b) The BPO shall direct that a review be performed when circumstances require.

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Subpart 1330-70.3 NOAA Acquisition and Grants Office Ombudsman

1330-70.301 Purpose

  1. The purpose of the NOAA AGO Ombudsman is to facilitate and foster improved communication with client organizations, industry, and the general public.
  2. The policy identifies the roles and responsibilities of the NOAA AGO Ombudsman.

1330-70.302 Definition

(a) The AGO Ombudsman is an official dedicate to removing communication barriers by serving as a neutral, independent intermediary on acquisition matters.

1330-70.303 Policy

(a) Resolution of Acquisition Issues and Concerns

  1. Members of industry, the public, and client organizations shall first notify the respective contracting officer to resolve their issues or concerns.
  1. Contracting officers shall have the primary responsibility for recognizing and resolving procurement issues or concerns identified by client programs, industry, and the public.
  1. When a presented procurement issue or concern cannot be resolved by a contracting officer, then it shall be referred to the AGO Ombudsman by the respective contracting officer.

    1. The Referral to the AGO Ombudsman Memorandum Template will be used to extend unresolved matters to the AGO Ombudsman. However, when an individual or organization has a bona fide reason to believe that they will not be treated reasonably, responsibly, and objectively by a contracting officer, they may immediately access the AGO Ombudsman for consideration.

    2. The AGO Ombudsman will process referrals in accordance with the NOAA AGO Ombudsman Case Handling Process, located on page 5 of the Acquisition Alert 16-05.

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(b) AGO Ombudsman Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Liaison
    1. Conducts outreach efforts with AGO staff, program clients, industry, and the public.
    2. Meets with AGO staff, clients, industry, and the public to receive feedback and recommendations for the improvement of acquisition processes, methodologies, and outcomes.
    3. Fosters communication with AGO staff, clients, industry, and the public to ensure that new technologies, approaches, and innovations are presented to NOAA.
  2. Independent Intermediary
    1. Provides an independent, impartial and, when appropriate, confidential venue for individuals, organizations, and companies to be reasonably and responsibly considered.
    2. Serves as an independent intercessor in issues involving acquisition practices, procedures, initiatives, and/or developments.
    3. Examines complaints about improprieties and other concerns involving acquisition processes, initiatives, and/or developments.
  3. Training
    1. Educates the acquisition workforce and program clients about proper interactions and communication with industry and the public.
    2.  Educates industry and the public about proper interactions and communication with the Government.
  4. Advisor
    1. Reports to the AGO Deputy Director and supports other special project initiatives as directed.
    2. Consults with AGO Management and NOAA leadership about specific concerns and issues raised by clients, industry, and the public.
    3. Works collaboratively with clients, industry, and the public, and helps support the AGO Small Business Program.
  5. AGO Ombudsman Authorities
    1. Authorized to request information from each AGO Division in the examination of complaints submitted by clients, industry, or the public.
    2. Proposes solutions to concerns received or forums for the hearing of recommendations.
    3. May seek expert assistance from within NOAA to better understand issues presented by a party.

(C) Notice of the AGO Ombudsman Program

  1. Contracting officers must identify the AGO Ombudsman in their initial acquisition announcements to the public, and in subsequent formal notices and documents, such as solicitations, draft solicitations, orders/calls and awards.
  1. The specialized solicitation and contract language shall be incorporated into all new NOAA contracts, as addressed in the attachment to this policy entitled, NOAA AGO Ombudsman Solicitation and Contract Language.

1330-70.304 Solicitation and Contract Language

Insert the solicitation and contract language located at 52.270-304, NOAA Solicitation and Contract Language AGO Ombudsman, in all solicitations and contracts.

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