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Circular No. A-76 -- Revised

Definition of Terms

Administrative appeal authority.--With receipt of an appeal, the official designated in paragraph 9.a. of the Circular A-76, or designee, assigns an official(s) to serve on an A-76 Administrative Appeal Authority for that appeal. The individual(s) selected must be: (a) independent of the activity under review or, (b) at least two organizational levels above the official who certified the Government's Management Plan and MEO. The Appeal Authority reviews appeals to ensure that all costs are properly accounted for in accordance with the principles and procedures of this Supplemental Handbook. The Authority shall also ensure that all participants have full and equal access to the decision process.

Affected parties.--Federal employees and existing Federal contractors that will or could be impacted by a decision to waive a cost comparison or have submitted bids to convert to or from in-house, contract or ISSA performance, as a result of a cost comparison, and their representatives are affected parties. Agencies or parts of agencies that have submitted formal bids or offers, in order to compete for the right to provide services through ISSAs, are also considered affected parties.

Commercial activity.--A commercial activity is the process resulting in a product or service that is or could be obtained from a private sector source. Agency missions may be accomplished through commercial facilities and resources, Government facilities and resources or mixes thereof, depending upon the product, service, type of mission and the equipment required.

Commercial source.--A commercial source is any business or other concern that is eligible for contract award in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations.

Contract administration.--Contract administration includes those inherently governmental activities performed by warranted contracting officers (CO), the contracting officer's technical representatives (COTR), and related payment evaluation staff. Contract administration is not to be confused with contract quality control, performance evaluation or inspection, which are defined as commercial activities by this Supplement and OFPP Policy Letter 92-1.

Conversion to contract.--A conversion to contract is the change of performance of a commercial activity from in-house performance by Federal employees to performance by a commercial source.

Conversion from contract.--Conversion from contract to in-house performance means the change of a commercial activity from performance by contract with a commercial source to performance by Federal employees with Government resources. It also includes the conversion of expansions and/or new requirements (work) from contract performance to in-house performance.

Core capability.--A core capability is a commercial activity operated by a cadre of highly skilled employees, in a specialized technical or scientific development area, to ensure that a minimum capability is maintained. The core capability does not include the skills, functions or FTE that may be retained in-house for reasons of National Defense, including military mobilization, security or rotational necessity, or to the patient care or research and development activities, as provided in Part I, Chapter 1 of this Supplement.

Cost comparison.--A cost comparison is the process whereby the estimated cost of Government performance of a commercial activity is formally compared, in accordance with the principles and procedures of this Circular and Supplement, to the cost of performance by commercial or ISSA sources.

Expansion.--An expansion is the modernization, replacement, upgrading or the enlargement of an in-house commercial activity or capability. If the expansion involves a 30-percent increase in the operating cost of the activity, a 30-percent increase in the total capital investment to perform the activity or an increase of 65 FTE or more, a cost comparison is required prior to authorizing in-house performance. A consolidation of two or more existing commercial activities is not an expansion, unless the total operating cost is 30 percent greater than the total of the individual components or it requires an increase of 65 FTE or more.

The above definition notwithstanding, pursuant to OMB Circular A-126 all aircraft purchase decisions should be justified through formal cost comparison, as provided by this Supplement.

Exemption.--An exemption is a determination, made in accordance with Circular A-76 and this Supplement, that a commercial activity may be converted to or from in-house, contract or ISSA performance, without cost comparison and may be justified by reasons other than cost.

Inherently governmental activity.--An inherently governmental activity is one that is so intimately related to the public interest as to mandate performance by Federal employees. Activities that meet these criteria are not in competition with commercial sources, are not generally available from commercial sources and are, therefore, not subject to Circular A-76 or this Supplement. Guidance to avoid an unacceptable transfer of official responsibility to contract performance may be found in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Policy Letter 92-1. See Appendix 5.

Independent Review Officer (IRO).--The agency official who certifies--prior to bid opening--that the Government's performance and cost comparison estimates have been prepared in accordance with Circular A-76 and this Supplement.

ISSA.--The provision of a commercial activity, in accordance with an interservice support agreement, on a reimbursable basis. This includes franchise funds, revolving funds and working capital funds.

Management Plan.--The Management Plan is the document that outlines the changes that will result in the Government's Most Efficient Organization (MEO) to perform a commercial activity in-house. It provides the staffing patterns and operating procedures that serve as a baseline for in-house cost estimates.

Most Efficient Organization (MEO).--The MEO refers to the Government's in-house organization to perform a commercial activity. It may include a mix of Federal employees and contract support. It is the basis for all Government costs entered on the Cost Comparison Form. The Most Efficient Organization (MEO) is the product of the Management Plan and is based upon the Performance Work Statement (PWS).

National defense activity.--A national defense activity is a commercial activity that is approved by the Secretary of Defense, or designee, as being subject to deployment in a direct military combat support role.

National security.--A national security activity is a commercial activity that is approved by the Director of Central Intelligence, or designee, as being necessary to meet the national security.

New requirements.--A new requirement is a newly established need for a commercial product or service.

Overhead.--Overhead is included in the in-house estimate and is defined as those costs that are not directly attributable to the activity under study.

Performance measures.--Performance measures provide a series of indicators, expressed in qualitative, quantitative or other tangible terms, that indicate whether current performance is reasonable and cost effective. Performance measures can include workload and output-to-cost ratios, transaction ratios, error rates, consumption rates, inventory fill rates, timeliness measures, completion and back order rates, etc. Quality service measures may include responsiveness rates, user satisfaction rates, etc.

Performance standard.--A performance standard reflects the minimum, sector-specific, Federal requirement for the performance of a commercial activity. It incorporates both quality measures and cost measures. Cost measures reflect the cost comparability procedures of Part II of this Supplement to assure equity in the comparison of performance standards with private industry standards.

Performance Work Statement (PWS).--A Performance Work Statement is a statement of the technical, functional and performance characteristics of the work to be performed, identifies essential functions to be performed, determines performance factors, including the location of the work, the units of work, the quantity of work units, and the quality and timeliness of the work units. It serves as the scope of work and is the basis for all costs entered on the Cost Comparison Form.

Post-MEO performance review.--When services are performed in-house, as a result of a cost comparison, including those involving an interservice support agreement, a formal review and inspection of the Most Efficient Organization (MEO) should be conducted. Typically, this review should be conducted following the end of the first full year of performance. Post-MEO Performance Reviews confirm that the MEO has been implemented in accordance with the Transition Plan, establish the MEO's ability to perform the services of the PWS and confirm that actual costs are within the estimates contained in the in-house cost estimate. Adjustments may be made for formal mission or scope of work changes.

Preferential procurement programs.--These are special "commercial" source programs, such as Federal Prison Industries and the workshops administered by the Committee for the Purchase from the Blind and Other Severely Handicapped under the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act.

Performance requirements summary (PRS).--A PRS is a synopsis of the scope of work and output performance measurements that may be used in conjunction with aviation cost comparisons that rely on the GSA FAMIS data system for identifying contract costs.

Privatization.--Privatization is the process of changing a public entity or enterprise to private control and ownership. It does not include determinations as to whether a support service should be obtained through public or private resources, when the Government retains full responsibility and control over the delivery of those services.

Quality assurance surveillance.--Quality Assurance Surveillance is the method by which Federal employees will supervise in-house or contract performance to ensure that the standards of the PWS are met within the costs bid.

Reasonable or competitive prices.--The expected range of prices resulting from experience obtained through the competitive free enterprise system for like or similar activities. Determinations are to be made by the contracting officer.

Recurring commercial activity.--A recurring commercial activity is one that is required by the Government on a consistent and long term basis. This definition does not imply an hourly, daily, monthly or annual requirement, but must, in a general sense, be repetitive in nature, wherein the expected workload can be reasonably estimated.

Sector.--Certain commercial activities are common to more than one agency. Many of these commercial activities can be aggregated. For example, an agency may inventory transportation acquisition, operations, maintenance and disposal as independent commercial activities.

Severable expansion.--A severable expansion is an expansion of currently contracted, in-house or interservice support agreement provided work that could be provided using the current approach or could, without severe additional administrative burden, be provided by another competitive offeror. Economies of scale are not justification for dismissing new or expanded work as severable, these economies will be tested through competitive offer.

Start date.--This term is used in two ways. First, it is the date when a cost comparison begins, generally defined as the date that a local Study Team is formed and actual work on the Performance Work Statement, Management Plan and in-house cost estimate begins. Second, it may refer to the actual date work is scheduled to begin under a contract, as provided in the solicitation.

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