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Part 307--Acquisition Planning, Subpart 307.71--Acquisition Plan

HHS Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR)

Sections on this page:

Subpart 307.71--Acquisition Plan

307.7100 Scope of subpart.

FAR 7.102 requires acquisition planning for all acquisitions. This subpart establishes: (a) when a written AP is required; (b) its contents and format; and (c) the need for review of the AP to certify that it is accurate, complete, and in the proper format. This subpart also establishes the documentation requirements for those acquisitions not requiring an AP.

307.7101 Policy.

(a) An AP is required for all acquisitions, to be placed by an HHS contracting office, expected to exceed $500,000 (inclusive of options) with the following exceptions:

(1) Letter contracts.

(2) Unsolicited proposals.

(3) Regulated utility services available from only one source. 

(4) Proposals under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. 

(5) Acquisition of commercial items/services – see FAR 2.101, including orders placed under FSS contracts meeting the definition of a commercial item/service, and not exceeding $6.5 million [$12 million for acquisitions as described in FAR 13.500(e)].

(6) Task orders or delivery orders of any dollar amount placed under—

(i) An IDIQ contract, other than a GWAC; or

(ii) A BPA, provided there is an approved acquisition planning document for the original action, and there is no significant deviation from that plan.     

(7) Orders of any dollar amount placed under HHS-wide strategic sourcing vehicles.

(8) Contract/order modifications that—

(i) Exercise options;

(ii) Only provide additional funding; or

(iii) Make changes authorized by the Changes clause.

(9) Assisted acquisitions processed pursuant to an interagency agreement. However, the OPDIV must comply with the requirements specified in 317.5 Interagency Agreements under the Economy Act and 317.70, Multi-agency and Intra-agency Contracts.

(b) In urgent or other justifiable cases, such as an emergency acquisition – see FAR Part 18, the HCA may waive, in writing, the requirement for completion of an AP. An HCA shall not approve a waiver request based on the lack of advance planning.

(1) The Project Officer, the Project Officer’s immediate supervisor, the head of the sponsoring program office, the Contracting Officer, and other signatories shall sign the waiver request in accordance with OPDIV policies. In OPDIVs where a CCO(s) is designated, as defined in 302.101, the cognizant CCO also shall sign the waiver request.

(2) HHS has established a standard format for preparing an AP waiver request. The template for the waiver request is available at: Contracting activities shall use this format when requesting a waiver.  

(3)The OPDIV shall provide ASFR/OGAPA/DA a copy of any approved waiver request within 5 business days after HCA approval.   

(c) For those acquisitions not requiring an AP, other than assisted acquisitions processed pursuant to an interagency agreement – see 317.5 and 317.70, the Project Officer shall provide an acquisition request document (e.g., memorandum, requisition, or other form of transmittal) to the CCO or designee, requesting completion of the required action. The request must include, as applicable: a SOW/PWS (including deliverables and reporting requirements); a certified funding document; source selection strategy and criteria; necessary clearances, approvals, and justifications (e.g., a JOFOC); a milestone schedule; and an independent Government cost estimate.) In addition, OPDIVs shall use the content requirements of the AP as a reference in determining what other information and documentation is necessary to support the intended acquisition. Alternatively, OPDIVs may prescribe use of an AP for acquisitions excepted under 307.7101(a)(1) through (a)(8).    

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307.7102 Content.

In accordance with 307.105, the FAR, HHSAR, and other federal requirements that OPDIVs must consider in developing an AP, as well as its format, are stipulated in 307.7103. An AP shall address each applicable element. As indicated in the instructions, elements that are not applicable to an individual acquisition shall be marked “N/A.” The scope and depth of an AP may vary depending on the nature, complexity, and estimated cost of the proposed acquisition. As a result of new or revised FAR requirements or other federal directives, the—

(a) HCA or designee may make any needed interim changes to the AP;

(b) HCA or designee shall notify ASFR/OGAPA/DA of the need to revise the AP; and

(c) ASFR/OGAPA/DA shall update the AP, which would supersede any interim HCA (or designee) changes made to the acquisition plan for future acquisitions.

307.7103 Format.

(a) HHS has established a standard format for preparing an AP. The template for the AP is available at:

(b) OPDIVs may use the prescribed format without modification or use it as a guideline, as long as the format used by the OPDIV complies with the requirements specified in subparagraphs (c) and (d) below.

(c) An AP must consist of seven (7) parts with standard headings, as follows:

Part I         Transmittal and Approval Form.

Part II        Summary Sheet.

Part III        Project Considerations and Information.

Part IV      Clearance/Approval Checklist.

Part V       Acquisition Milestone Schedule.

Part VI      Independent Government Cost Estimate.

Part VII      Attachments.

(d) Within each of the seven parts, there are required components that an OPDIV cannot modify and specific areas where OPDIVs can make changes. The table in the Requirements and Responsibilities section of the AP cites the titles, paragraph/subparagraph headings, narrative, and other requirements that must appear in each part of an AP in the specified format, as well as permissible modifications.

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307.7104 Review and certification.

Before the Project Officer transmits the AP to the CCO or designee – see 307.7105, the head of the sponsoring program office (typically a Division Director or equivalent), Project Officer, Funds Certification Official, Contracting Officer, and other signatories in accordance with OPDIV policies, shall review the AP and certify that it provides all required information in the prescribed format and the following:

(a) Vague and ambiguous language has been eliminated.

(b) A thorough technical review of the SOW/PWS has been completed.

(c) The project is structured by phases or tasks, as appropriate.

(d) Methods are available to assess the contractor’s performance.

(e) The acquisition mechanism is appropriate – i.e., the principal purpose of the project is to acquire supplies or services for the direct benefit or use of the Government.

(f) The planned obligation of appropriated funds for the project satisfies a bona fide need of the requiring office arising in the fiscal year for which the appropriation was made.

307.7105 Transmittal.

The Project Officer shall convey the signed AP to the CCO or designee by providing a completed Part I – Transmittal and Approval Form, with other parts of the AP attached, no later than the date agreed to in the acquisition milestone schedule, unless the officials establish a different date by mutual agreement.

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307.7106 Acquisition milestones.

The Contracting Officer shall retain the acquisition milestone schedule in the contract file and update/revise it to track progress of the acquisition. The milestone schedule signatories (see the Requirements and Responsibilities section of the AP – Part V of the table) shall mutually agree to any revisions to the milestone dates that will impact meeting the scheduled award date. Milestone schedule signatories shall report a failure to meet established milestones to a higher level official in accordance with OPDIV procedures.

307.7107 Responsibilities.

The following table summarizes the responsibilities of the various organizations and officials for acquisition planning:

Acquisition Planning

Responsible Organization/Official

HHSAR Reference

Make necessary interim changes to the AP and notify ASFR/OGAPA/DA of changes needed

OPDIV HCA or designee


Update the AP to reflect new or revised FAR and other Federal directives   



Prepare the AAP and update it quarterly, as appropriate


307.104, subparagraph (a)

Establish standard acquisition lead-times and deadlines for receipt of requirements for award in an applicable fiscal year


307.104, subparagraph (d)

Identify and plan requirements, particularly complex, long lead-time acquisitions, well in advance of the fiscal year in which they are to be awarded

OPDIV – Project Officer

307.104, subparagraph (d)

(i) Participate in acquisition planning;
(ii) prepare the AP; and (iii) provide the AP to the Contracting Officer

OPDIV – Project Officer 

(i) 307.104, subparagraph (c);
(ii) 307.104, subparagraph (d); and (iii) 307.7105

(i) Participate in acquisition planning; and (ii) assist the Project Officer in AP preparation

OPDIV – Contracting Officer

(i) 307.104, subparagraph (c);
(ii) 307.104, subparagraph (d)

Waive requirement for development of an AP when justified


307.7101, subparagraph (b)

Review and certify that an AP is complete, accurate, and in the proper format

OPDIV – Head of the Sponsoring Program Office, Project Officer, Funds Certification Official, Contracting Officer, and other signatories in accordance with OPDIV policies


Meet established acquisition milestone dates

OPDIV – Project Officer and Contracting Officer


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307.7108 Statement of work.

(a) General. An SOW describes the work or services a contractor is to perform in reaching an end result without describing the method that the contractor shall use, unless the method of performance is critical or required in order to obtain successful performance. An SOW shall be clear and concise; completely define the responsibilities of both the contractor and the Government; and be worded to make misinterpretation virtually impossible.

(b) Term (level of effort) form and completion form SOWs. Term-form (level of effort) SOWs essentially require the furnishing of technical effort, which may include a report thereof, while completion-form SOWs require development of tangible items designed to meet specific performance and/or design characteristics – see FAR 16.306(d) for this distinction.

(1) Term (or level of effort). A term or level of effort-form SOW is appropriate for research where the objective is to discover the feasibility of later development or to gather general information. A term or level of effort-form SOW specifies that some number of labor hours be expended on a particular course of research or that a certain number of tests be run, without reference to any intended conclusion.

(2) Completion. A completion-form SOW is appropriate for development work where the feasibility of producing an end item is already known. A completion-form SOW may describe what is to be achieved through the contracted effort, such as development of new methods, new end items, or other tangible results.

(c) Phasing. When appropriate, the SOW and the associated delivery schedule may be divided into phases representing stages of accomplishment. Based upon written performance evaluation criteria for each phase, the Government must approve in writing each phase before performance of the next phase.

(d) Elements of the SOW. The elements of the SOW may vary with the objective, complexity, size, and nature of the acquisition. In general, the SOW shall include the following:

(1) Purpose of the project. This includes a general description of the objectives of the project and the desired results.

(2) Background information. This includes a brief history of the project and the importance of the project to the overall program objectives.

(3) A detailed description of the technical requirements. The SOW shall provide sufficient detail to accurately reflect the Government’s requirement. It shall state what is to be accomplished without prescribing the method the contractor is to use and shall include performance standards, if applicable. See 307.104(b)(2) and FAR 37.602 for guidance on preparation of a PWS.  An SOW may include tasks and subtasks. The degree of breakout depends on the size and complexity of the project. An SOW shall indicate whether the tasks are sequential or concurrent.

(4) Reference material. This includes an explanation of all reference material a contractor needs to carry out the project; the applicability of the reference material; and a statement as to where potential offerors can obtain the material.

(5) Level of effort. When a level of effort is necessary, the SOW shall specify the number and type of personnel required, if known, and the type and degree of expertise.

(6) Special requirements (as applicable). This includes providing, in a separate section, any unusual or special contractual requirements that may affect performance. For example, the SOW shall specify separately the work requirements to implement information security management requirements – see 339.71 for additional information.

(7) Deliverables and reporting requirements. This includes clearly and completely describing all deliverables and reports, including the time frame for completion, the format, and the required number of copies.

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