U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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Part 307--Acquisition Planning, Subpart 307.70
HHS Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR)
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This subpart provides guidance on the appropriate selection of award instruments to fulfill program needs consistent with 31 U.S.C. 6301-6308. This subpart explains the use of the contract as the award instrument for acquisition relationships and a grant or cooperative agreement as instruments for financial assistance relationships.
(a) 31 U.S.C. 6301-6308 requires the use of contracts to acquire property or services for the direct benefit or use of the Government and grants or cooperative agreements to transfer money, property, services, or anything of value to eligible entities to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by federal statute.
(b) OPDIVs shall use a contract as the legal instrument to reflect a relationship between the Government and an entity whenever the—
(1) Principal purpose of the instrument is the acquisition, by purchase, lease, or barter, of property or services for the direct benefit or use of the Government; or
(2) Government determines in a certain situation that specific needs can be satisfied best by using the acquisition process. However, this authority does not permit circumventing the criteria for use of acquisition or assistance instruments. Use of this authority is restricted to extraordinary circumstances and requires the Associate DAS for Acquisition’s prior approval.
(c) OPDIVs shall use a grant or cooperative agreement as the legal instrument to reflect a relationship between the Government and an entity whenever the principal purpose of the relationship is the transfer of money, property, services, or anything of value to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by federal statute.
(1) OPDIVs shall use a grant when no substantial programmatic involvement is anticipated between the Government and the recipient during performance of the contemplated activity.
(2) OPDIVs shall use a cooperative agreement when substantial programmatic involvement is anticipated between the Government and the recipient during performance of the contemplated activity.
(d) As a general rule, OPDIVs shall use contracts for the following purposes:
(1) Evaluation (including research of an evaluative nature) of the performance of Government programs or projects or grantee activity initiated by the funding agency for its direct benefit or use.
(2) Technical assistance rendered to the Government, or on behalf of the Government, to any third party, including those receiving grants or cooperative agreements.
(3) Surveys, studies, and research which provide specific information desired by the Government for its direct activities, or for dissemination to the public.
(4) Consulting services or professional services of all kinds if provided to the Government or, on behalf of the Government, to any third party.
(5) Training projects where the Government selects the individuals or specific groups whose members are to be trained or specifies the content of the curriculum (not applicable to fellowship awards).
(6) Production of publications or audiovisual materials the Government requires primarily for the conduct of its direct operations.
(7) Design or development of items for Government use or pursuant to agency definition or specifications.
(8) Conferences conducted on the Government’s behalf.
(9) Generation of management information or other data for Government use.
(a) OPDIV program officials shall use existing budget and program planning procedures to propose new activities and major changes in ongoing programs. OPDIV program officials shall meet with the HCA and the Chief Grants Management Officer, or their designees, as necessary, to determine whether award is to be made through the acquisition or assistance process. This determination shall normally occur prior to the time when the AAP is reviewed and approved so that the AAP will reflect all known proposed contract actions. The HCA shall fully document a shift from one award instrument to another in the appropriate files to show a fundamental change in program purpose that unequivocally justifies the rationale for the shift.
(b) The Contracting Officer shall confirm the appropriateness of the use of the contract instrument when reviewing the AP or other acquisition request document.
(c) OPDIVs shall ensure that the choice of instrument is in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 6301-6308 and applicable HHS policies. If, however, there are major individual transactions or programs which contain elements of both acquisition and assistance in such a way that they cannot be characterized as having a principal purpose of one or the other instrument, OPDIVs shall obtain guidance from ASFR/OGAPA/DA, through appropriate acquisition channels, including the HCA, before proceeding with a determination.
(d) Any public notice, program announcement, solicitation, or request for applications or proposals, or request for quotations shall indicate whether the intended relationship will be one of acquisition or financial assistance and specify the award instrument the OPDIV will use.