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Subpart 301.6--Career Development, Contracting Authority, and Responsibilities, continued

HHS Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR)

301.605 Contracting Officer designation of Contracting Officer Technical Representative
301.606 Training Requirements for Project Officers 

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301.605 Contracting Officer designation of Contracting Officer Technical Representative.

The Contracting Officer shall ensure that a COTR candidate is currently certified under HHS' FAC-COTR program before delegating authority to that individual to act as a COTR. Even if an individual is FAC-COTR-certified, a candidate becomes a COTR only when a Contracting Officer provides in writing the authorities the individual may exercise for a specified contract or order. Authority for such designations rests solely with the Contracting Officer. The Contracting Officer shall retain in the contract or order file the individual’s active FAC-COTR certificate. In the event that the HCA has granted an exception – see 301.604-73, the Contracting Officer shall include the HCA’s approval in the file.

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301.606 Training requirements for Project Officers.

301.606-70 General.

HHS has established a program for training personnel for certification and designation as Project Officers. See 302.101(g) for further information regarding the definition of a Project Officer and when designation of a Project Officer is appropriate. All references to “Project Officers” also apply to their alternates. Program Managers or their designees are authorized to designate individuals to serve as Project Officers. (NOTE: If an individual will also serve as the COTR for a proposed project, the individual shall comply with the training certification requirements for COTRs – see 301.604.)

301.606-71 Project Officer training.

Before an individual may perform the duties of a Project Officer, including development of an Acquisition Plan (AP) or other acquisition request documentation – see 307.71, for a proposed project, the Program Manager or designee shall designate an individual as a Project Officer in writing by means of a memorandum to the Project Officer candidate with a copy to the cognizant Contracting Officer. A Project Officer must successfully complete HHS University's Basic Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative Course or equivalent and any OPDIV-specific course prerequisites. The Project Officer must provide a course completion certificate to the Contracting Officer with any AP or other acquisition request documentation submitted. See HHS’ COTR Handbook for additional information on the basic training requirement for Project Officers and guidance on the training requirement for technical proposal evaluators in 315.305(a)(3)(ii).

301.606-72 Delegation of authority to HCAs.

HCAs are authorized to determine equivalencies for the Basic Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative Course and any OPDIV-specific course prerequisites. This authority may be re-delegated to OPDIV acquisition ACMs or other comparable officials.

301.606-73 Requirements for continuous learning maintenance.

Designated Project Officers require at least 40 relevant CLPs every 2 years. See HHS’ COTR Handbook for information on CLPs.

301.606-74 Training policy exception.

(a) In the event that an individual who has not successfully completed the required training course is urgently required to serve as a Project Officer, the Program Manager or designee may authorize the individual to perform the designated duties on an interim basis for up to 6 months, provided that—

(1) The individual agrees to take the Basic Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative course during that period and provides evidence of course registration; and

(2) The individual meets, prior to assignment to the project, with the cognizant Contracting Officer to discuss the specific role and responsibilities of a Project Officer and the interrelationships, as applicable, among the Project Officer, Contracting Officer, Program/Project Manager, and COTR functions.

(b) If an extension of time has been granted, but the individual fails to complete the training by the extended date, the Program Manager’s or designee’s approval for the individual’s assignment to the project will automatically terminate on that date.

301.606-75 Additional Project Officer training requirements.

(a) See HHS’ COTR Handbook for information on additional training requirements.

(b) Training policy exceptions.

(1) EVM training. In the event that there is an urgent requirement to assign a Project Officer to a contract project to which EVM will be applied, and the individual has not yet met the EVM training requirement, the HCA (non-delegable) may authorize the individual to perform the position duties, provided that the individual meets the training requirement within 3 months from the date of submission of the AP or other acquisition request documentation to the contracting office. If the individual does not complete the training requirement within the extension period, the HCA’s approval for the individual’s assignment to the project will automatically terminate on that date. In addition, during any extension period, the Project Officer must work under the direction of a Project Officer, COTR, or Program/Project Manager who has taken an EVM course.

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