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Vendor Communication Plan: Roles and Responsibilities

Date: April 25, 2014

Section 3: HHS Roles and Responsibilities

Brief descriptions of acquisition team members’ roles and responsibilities are provided below.

3.1. Contracting Officers (COs) and Contract Specialists (CSs)

These individuals are responsible for serving as the focal point for communicating with industry during all active acquisitions, including:

  1. Determining the timing, frequency, and degree of vendor engagement necessary.
  2. Identifying the appropriate means of communication (e.g., holding one-on-one meetings, hosting vendor days, issuing Requests for Information (RFIs), releasing draft solicitations, or using any combination of methods).  When doing so, the CO is encouraged to:
    1. Consider methods that would generate new entrants to the market and increase competition.
    2. Work with the OSDBU and the respective small business specialist to identify the best ways to reach out to small business.
  3. Providing guidance and direction to integrated project team members, as needed.
  4. Documenting market research efforts, as appropriate.
  5. Understanding the agency procurement forecast and where to find it in order to discuss related vendor inquiries.

3.2. Program/Project Managers (P/PMs)

These individuals are responsible for identifying agency needs and understanding vendor capabilities and technologies, as well as planning requirements to meet agency needs.  In addition, P/PM are responsible for each of the following:

  1. Conferring with the CO early and often to plan effective and efficient market research.
  2. Assisting the CO by estimating the expected level of competition for different procurement strategies, based upon an evaluation of current market capabilities.
  3. Collaborating with the CO to develop formal vendor engagement strategies.
  4. Understanding the agency procurement forecast and where to find it in order to discuss related vendor inquiries.

3.3. Contracting Officer’s Representatives (CORs)

These individuals are responsible for providing technical direction to the contractor, monitoring contractor performance, reviewing and accepting/rejecting contractor invoices, and serving as the “eyes and ears” of the CO regarding certain aspects of contractor performance, or otherwise assisting/representing the CO, as delegated by the CO in writing, including the following:

  1. Identify ways to improve communication after award, such as holding post-award administration meetings.
  2. Ensure communications with contractors do not trigger to constructive changes to the contract.

3.4. Office of General Counsel (OGC)

OGC is responsible for providing legal interpretation of applicable laws and regulations, and contract terms and conditions, as necessary and appropriate.

In addition, OGC is responsible for providing advice to the COs and other members of the integrated project team regarding appropriate communication strategies in terms of content, delivery, timing, etc.

3.5. Ethics Coordinators

These individuals are responsible for providing ethics-related advice and guidance to Federal employees, including acquisition personnel who communicate with vendors.”

3.6. Senior Procurement Executive (SPE)

The Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) is responsible for promoting vendor engagement, updating this Plan, as needed, and overseeing Heads of Contracting Activity (HCA) implementation of the Plan.

3.7 Heads of Contracting Activity (HCA)

HCAs are responsible for removing any unnecessary communication barriers and taking active steps to increase engagement with industry, including large and small businesses.  In addition, HCAs will take full advantage of OFPP’s Community of Practice (COP) on this subject to leverage successful practices.

3.8. Acquisition Career Managers (ACMs)

These individuals are responsible for providing P/PMs, COs, CSs, and CORs training opportunities to:  (a) strengthen vendor engagement; and (b) develop a better understanding of permissible communications.

3.9. Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)

OSDBU is responsible for maximizing contracting opportunities for small business concerns, promoting market research, and where applicable, providing assistance to STAFFDIVs/OPDIVs in reaching out to the small business community, and reviewing and approving HHS Form 653s – Small Business Review Forms.  In addition, they are responsible for each of the following:

  1. Understanding the agency procurement forecast and where to find it in order to discuss related vendor inquiries.
  2. Using the Small Business Central Event Listing at www.FedBizOpps.gov to publicize outreach events, as appropriate.

3.10. Competition Advocate

Among other roles, the Competition Advocate will serve as the HHS Communication Ombudsman -- providing targeted outreach and assistance to the vendor community and serving as a focal point for vendors seeking to do business with HHS, especially vendors who may not previously have been considered. This will complement OSDBU’s technical assistance. In addition, OSDBU will continue to perform this liaison role for the small business community.

3.11. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Technology Officers (CTOs)

These individuals may recommend ways to use new social media and collaborative technologies to increase vendor outreach and assist the acquisition community in developing pertinent rules and record keeping.

Plan Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Discussion
  3. HHS Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Training and Awareness Efforts for Government Employees and Contractors

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Content created by Division of Acquisition
Content last reviewed on April 25, 2014