21.6 Quality control plan (QCP)

A Quality control plan (QCP) is a written document that establishes what the customer must and will do to ensure the supplier performs in accordance with the agreed-upon performance standards set forth in the contract. A QCP helps to ensure the supplier delivers and the customer receives the quality of services stipulated in the contract. It will also support that the customer pays only for the delivered services that are acceptable by conforming to the contract's requirements. A QCP forms the basis for establishing appropriate performance incentives. Since the SOW, QCP and incentives are "interdependent," they should be "compatible in form, style, and substance, and be cross-referenced." In summary, these elements should make sense when read together and be well referenced throughout the performance based contract.

What the agency must do to ensure that the supplier has performed in accordance with the SOW performance standards can range from a one-time inspection of a product or service to periodic in-process inspections of on-going product or service deliveries. A successful QCP should include a surveillance schedule and clearly state the surveillance method(s) to be used. The QCP also establishes how resources will be used to ensure that the contract requirements are fulfilled by allowing the agency to clearly define the amount of contract administration resources needed.

The detail in the QCP regarding a particular task should:

  • Be proportionate to the importance of the task.
  • Focus on the level of performance, quality, quantity, timeliness, etc. of the performance outputs to be delivered by the supplier.
  • Not focus on the methodology, steps or procedures used by the supplier to provide the products/services or achieve the required level of performance.
  • Recognize the responsibility of the supplier to carry out its quality control obligations.
  • Contain measurable inspection and acceptance criteria corresponding to the performance standards in the SOW.