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What is an "inherently governmental function"?

An inherently governmental function (IGF) is a performance that is so intimately related to the public interest that government employees must execute it.

How do inherently governmental functions relate to the COR's duties?

The COR must ensure that IGFs are not included in the requirement. The COR should prepare a written determination indicating that none of the functions to be performed under the contract are "inherently governmental." This written determination is required for all new contracts and should address the conditions and information that restrict the discretionary authority, decision-making responsibility, or accountability of government officials using contractor services or work products.

What is a statement of work?

The statement of work (SOW) serves as the foundation for the request for proposals (RFP) or invitation for bids (IFB) and the resultant contract. It concisely explains what is to be accomplished by the contractor in terms of results so that the government can effectively monitor and evaluate the progress of the project.

The SOW in large part determines the quality of contractor performance. It lists and defines the following:

Services to be supplied by the contractor

Tasks to be accomplished by the contractor

Conditions under which the work is to be performed

Methods by which the government intends to judge the delivered services.

What is the role of the SOW in the contract?

The SOW becomes a part of the contract and is thereafter legally binding upon the contractor and the government. It provides an objective measure of contractor performance so that both the government and the contractor will know when increments of work are completed and payments justified.

Why is it important to prepare a good SOW?

The degree to which requirements can be clearly defined in the SOW will generally dictate whether the sealed bidding or the negotiated acquisition method will be chosen, as well as the type of contract (e.g., fixed price, cost reimbursement) to be awarded.

When released in a solicitation document, the SOW may affect the number of contractors who are willing and able to respond to the solicitation. If the SOW is not definitive, some contractors may not respond, either because of uncertainty about the risks involved or because they do not understand the relationship of the requirement to their own particular capabilities. On the other hand, if the SOW is too restrictive, competent contractors may decline to respond because they believe that the government will inhibit their creativity or their opportunity to propose alternatives.

The clarity and explicitness of the requirements presented in the SOW will invariably enhance the quality of the proposals submitted. A definitive SOW is likely to produce definitive proposals, thus reducing the time needed for proposal evaluation.

During the proposal evaluation and contractor selection process, the SOW plays a significant role. Clear and precise requirements allow the government to establish conclusive baselines on which sound technical evaluation criteria can be structured. Delays and administrative effort in evaluation can thus be reduced.

How does the SOW relate to measuring contractor performance?

The SOW becomes the standard for measuring the contractor's performance. When a question arises regarding the work to be performed, the SOW is the baseline document for resolving the question. Language in the work statement that defines the limits of the contractor's efforts is critical. If the limits on the contractor's work are unclear, it will be difficult to determine if there has been an increase in the scope of the work. Negotiation of cost and schedule modifications will be impaired, if not made impossible.

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