Wednesday, August 7, 2019

New Regulation Formalizes Ombudsman Practice and Identity for IDIQ Contracts

An 'ombudsman' is an official charged with addressing and/or investigating the interests of individuals' or companies' complaints of maladministration or violations of rights. You can find them at all levels of governments; federal, state, local, and municipal. To be effective, ombudsmen must be independent of the aggrieving organization.

The FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) Councils have just issued a final rule implementing a requirement for contracting agencies to establish ombudsmen for multiple-award indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts.

Under this new regulations,

  1. Each agency that awards IDIQ contracts must designate a task-order and delivery-order ombudsman for the contract.
  2. The ombudsman must review complaints from the contractor concerning all task-order and delivery-order actions for the contract
  3. The ombudsman must ensure the contractor is afforded a fair opportunity for consideration in the award of orders, consistent with the procedures in the contract.
  4. The contracting officer must include the name, address, telephone number and email address for the agency ombudsman.

The provision also provides that prior to consulting with the ombudsman, the contractor is encouraged to first address complaints with the contracting officer for resolution. Also, when requested by the contractor, the ombudsman will keep the identity of the concerned party confidential.

Some agencies have already established task-order and delivery-order ombudsmen however, they can be sometimes hard to find. This provision formalizes the practice across all agencies and requires the name and contact information be specifically spelled out in the contract.

The full regulation can be accessed here.

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