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Date: August 31, 2004
Billing Rates: The attached schedule of Initial and Discontinued billing rates will be effective for OPM's reimbursable investigative services beginning October 1, 2004. These rates should remain in effect until September 30, 2005. Although we are experiencing increased costs in the areas of contractor fees, information technology, and overall operating costs related to the Consumer Price Index, we have been able to limit the price increases for this year to approximately four percent (4%).
In addition to our background investigations, we also offer numerous special investigative services which are described and priced in Federal Investigations Notice 04-05 titled "Special Agreement Price Schedule." These products are used by agencies that want to obtain single or multiple record checks for use in pre-screening candidates as well as other agency purposes. We encourage you to contact your Investigations Program Specialist to discuss how we may be able to meet your investigative needs with these products.
Timeliness Service Categorization: Substantial increases in workloads and national priorities continue to present us with extraordinary challenges. Last year we replaced traditional 35, 75, and 120 day service level designations with PRIORITY, ACCELERATED, and STANDARD service level designations for the fieldwork products. A review of this past year's processing and timeliness performance does not support continuance of this model.
Beginning October 1, 2004, we will offer only PRIORITY and STANDARD case service levels for the fieldwork products.
Investigations at each service level will be scheduled promptly upon receipt by OPM. Critical elements of each investigation, including the national fingerprint-based criminal history check and the national credit search, will typically be completed within 24 hours of scheduling. OPM will continue to offer Advance National Agency Checks (NACs) for both service levels at no additional charge. Timeliness for Advance NACs will depend on the availability of other agency records.
For field investigations, PRIORITY (service level "A") cases, for which agencies pay a processing premium, will be expedited and will receive our highest priority. These will generally be investigations for critical new-hires or initial clearance requests. All other investigations should be designated STANDARD (service level "C") for the Single Scope Background Investigations (SSBI) and STANDARD (service level "F") for the Periodic Reinvestigations for SSBI. These cases will be processed in accordance with normal workload management policies and any new-hire investigations or initial clearance requests among them will be given priority over reinvestigations as resources allow. No premium will be assessed for these investigations. Service level "D" will continue to signify a request to reopen a previously closed investigation of any type.
Case service level "B" is no longer a valid investigation service code for the SSBI. Any investigations submitted using case service level "B" will be recoded to case service level "C" during the initial review process and will be worked in accordance with service level "C" processing guidelines as described above. Agencies will not be billed the premium price previously associated with service level "B" but will be billed the standard service level "C" case cost.
Case service level "B" and "C" are not valid investigation service codes for the SSBI-PR. Any investigations submitted using case service level "B" or "C" will be recoded to case service level "F" during the initial review process, and will be worked in accordance with STANDARD service level processing guidelines as described above. Agencies will be billed the standard service level "F" case cost.
Continue to enter the appropriate 3-character code in Block A of the AGENCY USE ONLY area of the SF 85, SF 85P, and SF 86. The first two characters are for the type of investigative product requested followed by the one character service code as follows:
Code "A" will stand for PRIORITY Service; Code "B/C" will stand for STANDARD Service for all but SSBI-PR investigations; Code "D" will stand for REOPEN Service for all investigation types; and Code "F" will stand for STANDARD service for SSBI-PR investigations.
The chart below summarizes the new case processing levels:
Type of Investigation
We remain committed to providing quality investigations in a timely, cost effective manner and will work towards restoring the timeliness that our customers expect. In FY 2004, OPM awarded five additional contracts for field investigative support, and we will be working with these contract companies to increase the national investigative capacity to meet the current demand. Until that can be accomplished, OPM will use the posted service levels to prioritize investigations to best meet national priorities.
For additional information concerning these services or additional investigative coverage, contact your OPM Investigations Program Specialist at (202) 606-1042.
Kathy L. Dillaman Deputy Associate Director
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