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Contracting Officer SOP

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This standard operating procedure (SOP) has internal roles only. It includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To provide a government employee authority to enter into, administer, modify, and terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings.


Contracting Officers

Contracting officers are legally responsible for contracts on behalf of the government. They may act only with as much authority as delegated to them from the appointing authority (see FAR 1.603-1) in writing on an SF-1402, Certificate of Appointment. Contracting officers are certified by the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) under the Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C) program.

Only contracting officers are authorized to legally bind the government, enter into contractual commitments, modify or change a contract, authorize certain activities, and obligate or deobligate funds under a contract.

Contracting officers have varied roles during acquisition:

  • During presolicitation, work closely with contracting officer's representatives to develop an acquisition plan. See HHSAR 307.105 Contents of written acquisition plans.
  • After an acquisition plan is approved, prepare a solicitation, conduct negotiations, and award a contract.
  • Ensure that contractors receive impartial, fair, and equitable treatment.
  • Before a contract is executed, make sure it meets requirements of law, executive orders, regulations, and other procedures, including clearances and approvals.
  • After contract award, monitor deliverables and reporting requirements, ensure a contractor is adhering to terms and conditions, monitor expenditures, and modify a contract, if necessary.
  • At the end of a contract, ensure the government receives final deliverables, authorizes final payment, and properly closes out the contract.

Contract Specialists

Contract specialists perform many of the same functions as a contracting officer and may be assigned contracts for award and administration, but the contracting officer oversees the development of the documentation and discussions, performs the final review of contract actions, and provides final signature authority.

Contracting Officer's Representatives

Contracting officer's representatives do not have the authority to make contractual commitments or change contract terms and conditions.


See the Office of Acquisitions staff listing.

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Contract Deliverables and Reporting Requirements SOP

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contracting Officer's Representative SOP

FAR Subpart 1.602, Contracting Officers

FAR Subpart 1.603, Selection, Appointment, and Termination of Appointment

HHSAR 301.602, Contracting Officers

HHSAR 301.603, Selection, Appointment, and Termination of Appointment of Contracting Officers

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Peer Review of R&D Contract Technical Proposals SOP

Technical Review of R&D Proposals Under Emergency Situations SOP

Last Updated November 13, 2014

Last Reviewed January 27, 2016