MAIL BAG: HOW WELL DO YOUR TASK ORDERS MATCH YOUR CONTRACT?
Alert reader H. Bogart of California writes, “Our company won a government contract for professional services several months ago. A recent task order bears little resemblance to the original deal. Our customer and sales team says ‘Let’s go’. Should I be concerned.?” It’s not uncommon for the government to ask for a solution one way and then actually buy it sliced some other way, H, but, yes, task orders that bear little resemblance to the other original contract could be a concern. Your need to make sure that the work performed is within the scope of the original award and that you can provide a clear, easy to follow crosswalk for any requested work that isn’t laid out according to the original award documents. Too many companies just go with the flow, only to find themselves in serious trouble later. Non-conforming invoices may not be paid. Over-charging may be alleged, as may out of scope work. Remember: the contracting officer is the only person who can change the terms of your contract. If the crosswalk between task order and contract isn’t clear to you, don’t proceed until it is. “We’ll always have Paris” is cold comfort if your company finds itself fined, or even on the suspended list. Make sure your work stays within scope and reasonably matches with the work you were originally awarded.