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What must the COR be aware of when reviewing tracking and management systems?

Both the contractor and the government use a system to track progress. Posing an informal question or two to the contractor regarding its tracking system may be sufficient to ensure that adequate procedures are being followed. However, the more complex the contract performance requirements or financial accounting requirements, the more sophisticated the tracking system must be.

For example, using a higher-dollar-value cost-type contract requires both parties to keep track of all expenditures as follows:

Contractor tracking systems. Preaward audits scrutinize whether the contractor has the financial accounting systems needed to adequately identify potential contract overruns or underruns[1] and provide notice of overruns to the government. The COR needs to make sure that the contractor is using the audit-approved systems and including necessary information in them as part of monitoring the cost-type contract.

Government tracking systems. A more elaborate technique for monitoring costs is the Cost/Schedule Control System. Many agencies use this method to track contract costs against work actually accomplished, rather than using spending forecasts.

Determining How to Document Monitoring Actions

What types of documentation should the COR use to document monitoring of contractor and government performance?

The COR should document both the contractor's and the government's performance under the contract. Various types of documentation should be considered when determining how best to monitor contractor and government performance. Types of documentation that may be used include:

Memorandums to the file

Trip reports

Contact records of telephone communications

Required reports, such as progress reports required by the contract terms

Input in tracking systems

Minutes of meetings

Correspondence between the government and the contractor

Technical analysis of the contractor's performance.

All documents (both contractor and government) generated during the monitoring of a contractor's performance should be submitted to the CO, who will maintain them in the contract administration file.

What should be included in memorandums to the file?

All agencies have their own method of preparing memorandums. Memorandums usually include:

Date of the memorandum

Author of the memorandum


Description of the situation

Action items


Signature of the individual generating the memorandum.

Memorandums to the file can be prepared at any time for any reason and are especially useful when a contract problem must be documented. Copies of memorandums may be sent to the CO for inclusion in the contract administration file, or they may serve as notification that a problem has been encountered. A copy may also be sent to the contractor to notify it that the government has found a problem if the contractor is not otherwise aware of the problem.

  • [1] A cost-type (or cost-reimbursement) contract does not have a price. Instead, the parties to the contract establish (usually as a result of negotiation) an estimate of total cost for the purpose of obligation of funds. The estimate represents a ceiling that the contractor may not exceed, except at its own risk. However, if the contract cannot be completed within the original total cost estimate, the government may approve and fund a cost overrun, raising the estimated cost for the contract. An underrun occurs when the contract is completed at a cost less than the original total cost estimate.
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