Contracts and Performance-Based Acquisition a Contract Is Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Contracts and Performance-Based Acquisition

A contract is a planned and legal agreement made between two or more parties with intent. It could be oral or written and may involve business individuals, employers and employees, or tenants and land lords. Relations built through contracts emerge from offers given, reception, intentions, considerations and genuine consent, and legal agreement from which the contract began. Every person involved in a contract gains responsibilities and rights similar to those of other individuals in the contract. Legally, all parties benefit equally from the contract, meaning all members are entitled to equal rights whatsoever. While contracts remain enforceable whether they are spoken or written, a written contract ensures legal security to all parties involved. This is because a spoken contract will only depend on the loyalty of people involved but with not future reference whatsoever. A written contract on the other hand will have recorded details on the conditions and agreements, which can be useful for future reference at any given time (Steven 2011).

For a government employee receiving a proposal from a contractor to sell vehicles for security purposes, a written contract would be essential for future reference and recommendations. There are different types of contracts such as fixed-price contracts and cost-reimbursement contracts. The type of contract selected will automatically determine the plan of acquisition for all parties involved. This means that the selection must involve all parties such that everyone is in agreement with the choice made. It requires careful planning and precise definition and understanding of responsibilities. There are policies governing the selection of contract type such as the recording of the contract type in the acquisition plan and negotiations. The negotiations and the acquisition plan must be closely related in a way that all parties will be motivated to work towards achieving economical and efficient results in performance. In this case, where the government is entirely responsible for the security of a country, the cost-reimbursement contract is necessary. This is because with this kind of contract, the contractor has minimal responsibility for the performance cost. This means that the government gets to play its role in ensuring the security of the people and take responsibility whenever there is a breakdown (Ralph 2012).

While selecting this kind of contract, the government has to assign responsible and accountable personnel to assess the past performance of the goods offered and the value of services offered. This can be through researching on the contracted goods and services before making any major decisions. However, the contractors should also ensure quality and unique services in order to stand out in offering security for the public. This means that they should provide a detailed analysis of their performance rate and proper assessment of the quality of their goods and services before offering them to the government. This is simply to ensure there are no legal cases of life threatening situations for both the government and contractors. This way, if the goods and services offered are of unique and high quality, the government will work hard to ensure they maintain the kind of standards set by contractors for other security firms. According to Feldman, the fixed-price contract is good but does not favor the contractor in that he has full responsibility for the performance cost (Ralph 2012).

This will not entirely help in evaluation of services and goods offered because the acquisition plan should involve performance of both the government personnel and contractors. On the other hand, time and materials, letter contracts and indefinite delivery contracts will not be entirely beneficial for such a proposal because they do not offer all elements of a good contact. For example, all these contracts are limited towards serving the government temporarily in that they are not open to change. The cost-reimbursement contract is good for this kind of proposal because it gives room for change in case of arising issues such as change of leadership; the law allows the transition of power and responsibility based on performance rate. The cost-reimbursement contract also allows room for negotiations, which would be appropriate for such a kind of purchase in that the purchaser is not limited to making his own decisions. It requires that the purchaser make a decision after reviewing the offer and evaluating past performance. This is because the purchaser has to be fully informed and accept the offer willingly knowing well what risks could be involved. This way, all parties will improve performance towards ensuring no actual or potential risks occur, and how to handle whatever risks may occur (Terrence 2007).

In addition to this, negotiated contracts help purchasers make considerations such as their financial capabilities before major decisions as well as offer their genuine consent after evaluation. It also ensures that all elements of the contract are in a detailed manner that makes that makes the contact valid. Performance based acquisition is essential in delegating responsibilities to individuals in a way that each personnel gets the opportunity to expand his skills through ensuring maximum performance. Apart from this, it also helps in setting the right objectives for the contract and individual goals. During the process of evaluation, the contracting officer needs to ensure their goods and services are in perfect conditions to operate. He also needs to ensure that he makes relevant documentation, for example, copies of quotations, past performance records, past problems and solution records, profits and losses incurred, and legal documents of agreement to officiate the whole process. He should state the terms and conditions of the contract clearly and signatures of all parties made as well as legal representatives are present during the signing of the agreements (Steven 2011).

Performance based-acquisition requires that the contracting officer makes quality assurance plans to help prepare all parties of possible risks and solutions in future. This is because the purchased goods, vehicles may have some faults. Therefore, the contracting officer and the government need to ensure thorough inspection to meet the requirements of the vehicles. For example, the vehicles should be in good driving conditions, should be heavy duty in order to perform effectively in offering security. This means they should be able to accommodate civilians and government officers at the same time for the recommended time without breaking. Every part should be fixed at the right place and substitute parts be made available in cases of exhaustion. Vehicle parts making should be easy to handle because any issues may arise and without freedom of operation, endangering people's lives (Terrence 2007).

The vehicle should have all security measures taken on it such that it will be able to withstand any kind of danger without getting permanent damage. It should also contain medical tools for first aid practices as well emergency communication lines if those operating may need urgent rescuing. Because of the difference in responsibilities given to the contracting officer, he should state the terms and conditions of the goods clearly to ensure that there are no chances of forwarded blames, which will require legal interventions. In extra ordinary circumstances where the government may want to renew their contract, it is essential that the government do a research on the performance records. This is to ensure that the government is fully aware of any possible legal claims and rights they can make to improve the conditions of goods and services. This does not only help the government but also helps the contractors to identify their areas of weakness to help them reach a wider market with their improved goods. They also get to introduce new goods for a variety of purchasers within and without their country. This way, they get to build a reputation in the market worldwide as well as target other areas apart from their country (CCH 2007).

In conclusion, types of contracts may vary with the kind of…

Sources Used in Document:


CCH Incorporated. (2007). Government contracts reference book; New York: CCH Incorporated,

C. Ralph. (2012). Intellectual property in government contracts: 2012 statutory and regulatory supplement. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business Publications

C. Terrence. (2007). Understanding government contract law. New York: Management Concepts Publishing

F. Steven. (2011). Feldman and Keyes' government contracts in a nutshell, 5th (West Nutshell Series). Minnesota: West Publications

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