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Can I issue Technical Direction Letters (AKA Technical Instructions) under a Schedule Task Order?


Yes.  Or to be more accurate, I don’t see any reason why not.  There is certainly nothing in regulation or policy I am aware of which would preclude the inclusion of TDLs/TIs in a Schedule task order.  So for those of you who are familiar with the concept and have established procedures/formats I would say, “go for it!” 

If you are wondering what I’m even talking about, a Technical Direction Letter (also called “Technical Instructions” or a “Letter of Technical Direction” among other names) is a written document, usually in a standard format, issued to a contractor after award to provide additional guidance relative to a task or tasks contained in the task order’s performance work statement.  TDLs provide further direction or performance details to the contractor but cannot conflict with the terms, conditions or requirements of the task order.  It is usually the COR who issues TDLs based on specific authorization from the task order contracting officer.  For example, the COR might issue a TDL to tell the contractor the exact time or place of performance for a particular task or to specify the order in which tasks in the PWS are to be performed.

For more information on how and when TDLs might be used in general, I recommend looking at the Marine Corps’ Contract Management Process Guide [NOTE: used to be available here but the link stopped working...searching for an alternative link] which includes clause language and a link to a TDL template which you may be able to tailor to your individual needs.  I have also pasted a provision from an Army BPA RFQ which may be of interest.  As always, make sure to review your agency policy and consider consulting with legal counsel before dropping TDL language in your next RFQ.  Also, if you have used TDLs successfully in the past for Schedules task orders and have best practices or samples to share please post them so we can all learn from your experiences!  

Army Sample Provision

Technical Instructions (TI).  The following provision shall apply for task orders containing TIs:

(1)  Technical direction to perform effort under the TO SOW may be given by means of technical instructions  issued in numerical sequence.  TIs may be issued with option exercise modifications to describe the effort to be performed.  Each TI shall establish the effort to be expended for its performance and the number of manhours, travel, direct material, and/or other direct costs which shall not be exceeded.  The TI may be used to:

    (a)  Specify tasks to be accomplished under the TO SOW.

    (b)  Specify performance milestones and metrics (if applicable).

    (c)  Specify number of manhours to accomplish task within limits established in TO.

    (d)  Specify deliverables within those specified in TO.

    (e)  Provide other direction as may be required to successfully achieve the objectives of the TO within the parameters established by the TO SOW.

(2)  A TI shall not, in any event, alter or modify the scope or terms of either the specific task order, the BPA or the FSS Schedule. If the contractor believes that a TI has been issued that will alter, modify, or amend the scope or terms of the task order, BPA or FSS Schedule, then the contractor shall promptly notify the contracting officer as required by FAR 52.243-7.

(3)  A TI shall be issued by the Contracting Officer as an attachment to task order modifications and transmitted to the contractor.

(4)  A TI may be modified, cancelled, or superseded anytime by issuance of a new TI.

(5)  In case of extreme urgency, the Contracting Officer may instruct the contractor by telephone, but this shall be followed by a signed, approved TI.

(6)  The TI shall identify the applicable TO SLIN (if applicable) under which the effort is to be performed for purposes of identifying the price of that individual effort. In no event shall the total number of labor hours and price issued under a series of TIs exceed those labor hours and price set forth in section B of the specific task order for a particular SLIN.

(7)  TIs are not intended to replace informal direct communication or nondirective information between the contractor, the contractor's team members/subcontractors, and government personnel.

(8)  TIs may be issued during the course of task order performance to provide technical direction that may more closely reflect new information or changed priorities within the TO SOW.

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