Starting today, and for the next two and a half days, the Contractor Assurance Peer Review will take place at Fermilab. Throughout the history of the laboratory, first URA and then FRA have had many processes in place to make sure that the requirements and expectations of the contract with DOE were met. As laboratory and FRA managers have prepared for this review, we have articulated these processes and integrated them into a Contractor Assurance System (CAS).
The goal was to develop a comprehensive and transparent CAS that would assure contract performance. One feature of such a system is that all parties concerned have the same access to information necessary to carry out their respective responsibilities: the laboratory managers in delivering the mission of the laboratory; the FRA Board of Directors in their oversight responsibility; and the DOE site and program offices in ensuring FRA performance. Another feature of the CAS is that it is risk-based, namely, that risks are categorized and prioritized and that resources are deployed to mitigate them accordingly. In principle, if the CAS is well designed and executed it could help avoid duplicative reviews, minimize risks and increase transparency and trust between DOE and FRA.
A feature of these CAS Peer Reviews is that they involve managers from other laboratories. These reviews are meant to help laboratories develop good Contractor Assurance Systems, and thus each laboratory being reviewed was invited to participate in peer reviews, so that there are no surprises and that the laboratories in the DOE system can learn from each other.
In our case, we have reviewed our contract and mapped the many contract clauses to 11 functional “management systems” that cut across the laboratory:
- Corporate Governance
- Stakeholder Relations
- Performance Planning
- Business Operations
- Information Technology
Most of the assurance processes in these functional systems have been in place for some time but had not been described coherently. We now have done so in preparation for the review. The comprehensive mapping of the contract requirements to these functional systems has allowed us to make sure that the CAS is complete. We have designated individuals responsible for each of these functional systems and have described how they function in detail.
You can get up to speed on CAS by reading the materials posted on the CAS web page.