Chapter 1: Implementation of HHS' FAC-COR Program
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acquisition Policy Memorandum No: 2012-02, effective January 25, 2012, represents HHS’ revisions to the Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Representative (FAC-COR) program; establishes FAC-COR certification as a prerequisite for serving as a COR within HHS and the Staff Divisions (StaffDivs)/Operating Divisions (OPDIVs); and promulgates interim acquisition guidance, pending formal incorporation in the HHS Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR).
HHS will maintain a program for training employees for certification and appointment as Contracting Officer’s Representatives (CORs). Prior to appointment as a COR, all HHS COR candidates shall be certified eligible under HHS’ Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Representative (FAC-COR) program.
This guide implements the requirements set forth in HHS’ Acquisition Policy Memorandum No: 2012-02 “Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Representatives” and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Memorandum, “Revisions to the Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Representatives (FAC-COR),” dated September 6, 2011. These certification procedures and guidelines map out standard competencies HHS CORs must achieve.
HHS’ current Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (FAC-COTR) policy will be revised to establish a risk-based, three-tiered FAC-COR certification program. The term Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) is being changed to COR to align with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which now incorporates a definition for “Contracting Officer’s Representative” and includes designation of a COR as part of a Contracting Officer’s responsibilities (See FAR Parts 1.602-2 “Responsibilities” and 2.101, “Definitions”). This handbook supplements the HHS Acquisition Policy Memorandum 2008-01 dated October 1, 2008.
The FAC-COR is issued pursuant to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Act, 41 U.S.C § 1101 et. seq., and OFPP Policy Letter 05-01, which established a requirement for federal acquisition certification programs. The following statutes and policies provide authority for the HHS’ FAC-COR program:
- OFPP Memorandum, “Revisions to the Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Representatives (FAC-COR),” dated September 6, 2011
- OFPP Memorandum, “The Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer Technical Representative,” dated November 26, 2007
- Acquisition Policy Memorandum No: 2012-02 (effective January 25, 2012), “Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Representatives”
- Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management Memorandum, “Definition of HHS’ Acquisition Workforce,” dated December 2, 2008
- OFPP Policy Letter 05-01, “Developing and Managing the Acquisition Workforce,” paragraph 8(c) (April 15, 2005)
- Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003, Public Law 108-136
HHS accomplishes its mission and objectives in a variety of ways, through the use of federal staff, federal financial assistance mechanisms (grants and cooperative agreements), and acquisition. The FAC-COR program applies to all executive agencies, except the Department of Defense (DoD). This federal certification shall be accepted by all civilian agencies as evidence that an employee meets the core training and experience requirements to perform COR functions in accordance with agency policy.
The Departmental Acquisition Career Manager (ACM), in ASFR/OGAPA/DA, serves as the Departmental FAC-COR Program Manager and is responsible for administering the program. To support the management of the FAC-COR program at the StaffDiv/OPDIV levels, Heads of Contracting Activity (HCAs) may delegate this responsibility to their existing Acquisition Career Manager (ACM).
- Acquisition Career Manager (ACM) (Department-Level) – A Federal employee from Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources – Office of Grants and Acquisition Policy and Accountability – Division of Acquisition (ASFR/OGAPA/DA) responsible for administering the Department’s certification programs to ensure that the Department’s acquisition workforce members meet the requirements of OFPP Policy Letter 05-01.
- Acquisition Career Manager (ACM) (StaffDiv/OPDIV-Level) – A Federal employee responsible for leading the StaffDivs/OPDIVs acquisition career management program and ensuring that the StaffDiv/OPDIV acquisition workforce members meet the requirements of OFPP Policy Letter 05-01.
- Continuous Learning Points (CLPs) - Points awarded for successful completion of continuous learning activities. One CLP equates generally to one classroom hour and varies for other learning activities, as described in Appendix D of this handbook.
- Contracting Officer – A Federal employee expressly warranted to enter into, administer and/or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings.
- Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) - A Federal employee to whom a Contracting Officer has delegated authority in writing to act as his or her representative in monitoring specified aspects of contractor performance. These aspects may include ensuring that the contractor’s performance meets the standards set forth in the contract, ensuring the contractor meets the technical requirements under the contract by the delivery date(s) and/or within the period of performance, and ensuring that the contractor performs within the price or estimated cost stated in the contract.
- FAC-COR Program Manager – An ASFR/OGAPA/DA employee designated as the overall Departmental coordinator for all StaffDiv/OPDIV FAC-COR administration. The FAC-COR Program Manager’s responsibilities may include: coordinating the provisions of training; assuring that the training meets FAC-COR program requirements; communicating training drivers to various Staff and Operating Divisions (StaffDiv/OPDIVs); and communicating federal mandates as they relate to FAC-COR certification.
- FAC-P/PM Program – A certification program that focuses on training, experience, and continuous learning activity requirements for professionals that manage the acquisition of major and non-major capital investments.
- Head of Contracting Activity (HCA) – An Operating Division official responsible for conducting an effective and efficient acquisition program including establishing, managing, and monitoring HHS’ FAC-COR certification program for his/her StaffDiv/OPDIV.
- Project Management – A specific investment having defined goals, objectives, requirements, lifecycle costs, a beginning and an end that delivers a specific product, service or result.
- Program Management – A group of related work efforts, including projects, managed in a coordinated way. Programs typically include elements of ongoing work.
- Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) – HHS’ Senior Official responsible for management direction of acquisitions, procurement systems, and acquisition workforce – including the implementation of policies, regulations, and standards.
F. General Program Structure
HHS’ FAC-COR program will include three levels:
- Level I will require a minimum of 24 hours of acquisition-related training. This level of COR is generally appropriate for individuals serving on technical evaluation panels as well as supporting low-risk contract vehicles – such as firm-fixed price and services/supply contracts and orders that do not exceed \•5,000. Level I CORs are required to maintain at least 16 hours of training every 2 years.
- Level II will require a minimum of 60 hours of acquisition-related training and 1 year of previous COR experience. This COR level is generally appropriate for contract vehicles of moderate to high complexity and has contract threshold values that range from \•5K to \ 0M. Level II CORs are required to maintain at least 40 hours of training every 2 years.
- Level III will require a minimum of 96 hours of acquisition-related training and 2 years of previous COR experience on federal projects. This COR level is appropriate for highly complex – mission critical contract vehicles that require significant acquisition investment. These CORs are often called upon to perform significant project/program management activities and manage contracts that exceed \ 0M in value. Level III CORs are required to maintain at least 80 hours of training every 2 years.
As necessary, StaffDivs/OPDIVs covered by this FAC-COR policy may require additional training, dollar thresholds, and/or experience, above the appropriate FAC-COR requirements.
G. Key Competencies
The Department’s FAC-COR certification program has expanded training and development for CORs to include specialized areas and levels of complexity. HHS’ COR competency model is designed to enhance proficiency levels. Organizational benefits may include:
- Matching the current workforce profile with the organization’s performance requirements;
- Helping to recruit and retain the skills and proficiency levels needed for CORs – both current and future;
- Developing assessments that tie competencies to training; and
- Linking HHS’ COR responsibilities (See Appendix A – HHS’ COR Responsibilities) to key competencies (See Appendix B – FAI’s Key Competencies for CORs) required for successful contract management. A definition for each competency is provided at www.fai.gov.
While general business competencies can be achieved through required training, specific coursework for FAC-COR certification may be prescribed by the HCA or designee. Specific coursework should be based on a CORs proficiency level relating to an area of specialization (e.g., information technology, construction, research and development).
 Reflects recommendations from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s (OFPPs) Functional Advisory Board (FAB) for CORs, Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC), and the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI), and applies to all executive agencies, except those subject to the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA).
2 As necessary, StaffDivs/OPDIVs covered by this FAC-COR policy may require additional training, dollar thresholds, and/or experience, above the appropriate FAC-COR requirements.
Links to the FAC-COR Handbook:
- FAC-COR Handbook (PDF-53 pages)
- Executive Summary of the FAC-COR Handbook
- Chapter 1: Implementation of HHS’ FAC-COR Program
- Chapter 2: Requirements and Performance Accountability
- Chapter 3: Application and Certification Procedures
- Chapter 4: Certification Management
- Appendix A: HHS’ COR Responsibilities
- Appendix B: FAI’s Key Competencies for CORs
- Appendix C: FAC-COR Curriculum Guidance
- Appendix D: FAC-COR Guidance on Meeting Requirements for Continuous Learning Points
- Appendix E: FAC-COR Appointment Letter Template
- Appendix F: FAC-COR Certification Action and Training Request Form
- Appendix G: FAC-COR Functional Experience Transcript Form
- Appendix H: FAC-COR Certification through Fulfillment Form
- Appendix I: FAC-COR Certification Waiver Request Form