FAC-COR Handbook Executive Summary
As part of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s October 2009 Acquisition Workforce Development Strategic Plan, a multi-agency Functional Advisory Board (FAB) was established to improve the Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Technical Representatives (FAC-COTR) program and make recommendations to effectively manage this sector of the acquisition workforce. The revisions to the program reflect the recommendation from the FAB, Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC), the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI), and other subject matter experts. The new program entitled the “Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Representatives (FAC-COR),” and the additional language in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) are designed to strengthen the acquisition workforce to improve program outcomes, consistent with the President’s March 2009 Memorandum on Government Contracting, and reflects the need to improve the management of high-risk contracts, such as those for large information technology contracts, consistent with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) “25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management.”
Contracting Officer’s Representatives (CORs) ensure that contractors meet the commitments of their contracts. CORs are often the first to recognize when a program or contract is under-performing, and are increasingly being asked to manage high-value, complex contracts that involve varying degrees of risk. To be sure that CORs are trained and developed appropriately, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) issued a memorandum on September 6, 2011, entitled “Revisions to the Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer’s Representative (FAC-COR)” which replaces OFPP’s Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer Technical Representatives (FAC-COTR) originally issued in November 2007. The revised program will be a three-tiered certification program that will institute risk-based competency requirements for CORs. The new FAC-COR requirements will be effective January 1, 2012.
The term 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 the designation of a COR as part of a Contracting Officer’s responsibilities (See FAR Part 1.602-2 (Responsibilities) and FAR Part 2.101 (Definitions).
FAI’s FAC-COR program includes three different levels of certification, depending on the core competency, training, and experience required to manage different types of acquisitions:
- Entry/Apprentice – Level I
- Mid-level/Journeyman – Level II
- Senior/Expert – Level III
Core competencies vary by certification level and are designed to build commonality across the federal government’s acquisition workforce.
As stated in the OFPP memorandum--
Strengthening the acquisition workforce is critical to ensuring that the government gets the best value for the more than $500 billion of goods and services it procures annually.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shares this belief. This handbook represents the HHS implementation of the FAC-COR program. It addresses applicability; required competencies and related training; alternative means of satisfying FAC-COR certification requirements; time frames for certification; waiver authorities; and continuous learning activity requirements.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR), Office of Grants & Acquisition Policy and Accountability (ASFR/OGAPA), Division of Acquisition (DA) is responsible for management of HHS’ FAC-COR certification program. Staff Divisions (StaffDivs) and Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) may issue supplemental guidance and requirements for contract complexity, dollar value thresholds, additional skills, and competencies to meet organizational or mission needs. However, StaffDivs/OPDIVs may not reduce the requirements specified herein.
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