Question: What are the details related to PSCs teleworking in a different country from the regular/ assigned duty station if they are in a remote posture?
Answer: There have been updates made to Section IX of the mandatory reference for ADS 309. PSCs are permitted to telework from a country other than the regular duty station only if specific conditions are met. Please review Section IX for additional information related to those conditions.
Question: Can FSNs contact the PSC Ombudsman email?
Answer: USPSCs to include TCNs and CCNs should contact the PSC Ombudsman for assistance. FSNs however, are not permitted to obtain the same support as PSCs because FSNs are not onboarded via a contract with the agency that is signed by an Executive Officer or Contracting Officer. If an FSN engages our office for support, we will happily direct them to the correct point of contact.
Question: What can we do to provide more clarity for locality pay for PSCs?
Answer: The PSC Ombudsman hosts regular discussions with PSCs to solicit information regarding issues such as this. We encourage you to contact us via PSCOmbudsman@Usaid.gov to express your desire to participate in these groups in the future.
Question: Can Institutional Support Contractors (ISCs) contact the Ombudsman directly as an individual who is seeking support, and not due to a procurement concern that is related to the contract?
Answer: The A&A Ombudsman provides procurement related support to institutional support contractors. If you are an individual who is experiencing personal difficulty in the workplace (unrelated to your contract), the A&A Ombudsman is unable to provide support. Depending upon the circumstance, we would refer you to the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, the Office of the Inspector General, and etc. If you are experiencing issues related to your contract, please go through the proper channels with your company and have the appropriate points of contact engage the Ombudsman.
Question: As a PSC, if a specific question regarding the contract is identified, do we have to contact the CO first?
Answer: As a PSC you are required to engage your Contracting Officer or Executive Officer prior to engaging the PSC Ombudsman.
Question: Are PSCs entitled to compensatory time for travel?
Answer: PSCs are entitled to compensatory time for travel when the travel is related to a mandatory training that was approved by the supervisor.
Question: What is the difference between the A&A Ombudsman and the PSC Ombudsman?
Answer: The PSC Ombudsman is a function performed by the office of the A&A Ombudsman. Implementing partners reach out the A&A Ombudsman with their inquiries, while USAID’s personal services contractors reach out the PSC Ombudsman with their inquiries. The PSC Ombudsman functions on the same tenets as the Ombudsman with the exception of confidentiality. Due to the personal nature of personal services contracts, the cognizant Contracting Officer must be involved in any discussions regarding the contract.
Question: Can you share the revised NICRA language?
Answer: The text of the revised NICRA language in Section E(4) of the NICRA is as follows:
"You are directed to submit adjustment or final financial expenditure reports (SF-425) for all flexibly priced grants and other agreements; or adjustment or final vouchers for all flexibly priced contracts within 120 days after settlement of the final annual indirect cost rates. Audit adjustments should be clearly delineated so as to be readily identifiable for verification by this office. Care should be taken that amounts claimed do not exceed award limitations or indirect cost rate ceilings. USAID will de-obligate any remaining funds if the required financial expenditure reports or vouchers are not submitted within 120 days. Once the money is de-obligated, it will not be reinstated."
Question: How often are PSCs going straight to the A&A Ombudsman and not communicating with the Contracting Officer first? Do you refer them directly back to the Contracting Officer as necessary and does that resolve most issues?
Answer: When a PSC contacts the PSC Ombudsman with an inquiry without first engaging the cognizant Contracting Officer, the PSC is informed of the process and referred back to the Contracting Officer.
Question: Should Block 10(d) of the SF425 - Total federal funds authorized as of the reporting date – contain the Total Estimated Amount or just the Obligated amount?
Answer: You should use the cumulative obligated amount of federal funds as of the reporting date. This should not be the Total Estimated Amount as funds are not authorized for expenditure until obligated. Additionally, please note, USAID has decided to forego the use of the SF425 Guide.
Question: What kind of inquiries can be sent to the PSC Ombudsman Mailbox?
Answer: The main purpose of the PSC Ombudsman is to respond to inquiries from personal services contractors specific to their contracts with the Agency. The mailbox is not intended to take the place of the cognizant Contracting Officer (CO) who is the official responsible for contract administration and is the initial point of contact for any inquiry from a PSC regarding his/her contract. If questions are not resolved after consultation with the CO, the PSC Ombudsman may be contacted and the cognizant Contracting Officer must be included in any communication with the PSC Ombudsman.
Question: Can the Ombudsman give legal advice?
Answer: No. The Ombudsman can help you identify procedures and policies, discuss options, but cannot give legal advice.
Question: How can my organization obtain a direct loan or grant from USAID to start our business or to support our program?
Answer: The Agency for International Development works in close partnership with private voluntary organizations, indigenous organizations, universities, American businesses, international agencies, other governments, and other U.S. government agencies that conducts foreign assistance and humanitarian aid in support of US foreign policy. The agency works to support long-term and equitable economic growth and advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting economic growth, agricultural and trade; global health; and, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. We fund bilateral assistance programs for the sole purpose of development of foreign countries. Any program funded in whole or in part by USAID must meet a specific USAID strategic objective.
Question: How does my firm become a certified or registered supplier for USAID?
Answer: To be eligible to apply for USAID awards (and all U.S. federal awards), organizations must register in the following systems:
Visit www.usaid.gov/work-usaid for updated postings on how to work with USAID.
Question: How can a firm do business with USAID?
Answer: Information on how to work with USAID is available here. USAID does business through a variety of available federal mechanisms -- each with their own distinct policies, forms, procedures and associated documents. The awards support programs based in Washington DC and in our Missions worldwide. Each solicitation will include a description of the USAID objectives, instructions for submissions, evaluation factors (selection criterion against which your offer will be evaluated) and a point of contact. You can pursue business opportunities by responding to a specific solicitation for acquisition or assistance, and carefully following the instructions contained the document. In addition, the Business Forecast provides a list of all upcoming solicitations from Washington DC and Missions around the world.
Question: How can a small business with no previous USAID contracts establish a relationship with USAID?
Answer: The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is the best starting point for a small business that is new to USAID. Information on OSDBU is available here. The OSDBU website includes a list of contacts for each region of the world and technical bureau. The specialist responsible for each area (whether it is a country or sector) can help identify opportunities and further points of contact.
Question: How can an individual become a consultant under USAID contracts/grants?
Answer: Often consultant services are required under USAID contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements. If you are interested in working for a USAID contractor or recipient you will need to contact the organization directly.
Question: Does the Agency for International Development buy any goods and services from non– U.S. vendors/suppliers?
Answer: USAID funding can be used to procure commodities and services from Non-U.S. firms. Generally, the procurement of commodities and services, including procurements under grants/cooperative agreements, are subject to 22 CFR 228 Rules on Source, Origin and Nationality for Commodities and Services Financed by USAID. The relevant agency policy is accessible in the Automated Directive System ADS chapters 310-314 on the USAID website at http://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/agency-policy/series-300. The following information is offered with the intention of putting the overall source, origin and nationality concept into an overall context, but it is only an outline.
Question: Does USAID have a listing or database, worldwide, of the contractors and recipients with whom the Agency does business?
Answer: We do not currently have a complete database of worldwide USAID awards (e.g., contracts, grants, etc.). You can find information on organizations that have won awards from USAID:
in the recent award notices section of Federal Business Opportunities at http: www.fbo.gov and for assistance recipients at www.grants.gov.
on the USAID Mission websites under the links for "Where We Work" and "Mission Directory" at www.usaid.gov.
Question: Will USAID consider unsolicited proposals or concept papers? Where can I find guidance?
Answer: USAID may consider unsolicited concept papers that contribute new ideas consistent with and contributing to the accomplishment of the Agency's objectives in the countries in which it operates. The requirements for obtaining supplemental USAID mission resources are program specific, must be responsive to host country needs and must meet the criteria for unsolicited proposals/applications. You can find information on the Work With USAID section of the website.
Question: Does USAID have a maximum pay rate for contract salaries?
Answer: The standard that USAID uses as the "USAID contractor salary threshold" (CST), formerly know as the "maximum daily rate", is the equivalent of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) maximum rate of pay for agencies without a certified SES performance appraisal system.
When researching the rate, follow these steps:
Go to the OPM web page at www.opm.gov
Question: Can USAID assist a subcontractor working on a USAID funded project with resolving a disagreement with the prime contractor?
Answer: Although USAID does not have a contractual relationship with subcontractors, the Ombudsman will assist subcontractors in resolving any issues that fall within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.
For all other questions or suggestions, we can be reached at the following email address: Ombudsman@usaid.gov