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Contractor Assurance System Description

2.0 Assurance Process

FRA and Fermilab view contractor assurance as a laboratory-wide initiative and the primary tool for demonstrating that operations are complaint with legal and contract requirements. Contract Assurance is pending integration across all contract activities.

2.1 Roles

Each level of management has a distinct role and focus on the Contractor Assurance System:

The FRA Board of Directors (BOD) has the responsibility for governing Fermilab operations in accordance with the letter and intent of the contract between FRA and DOE. In performing their role, their actions are designed to achieve the following:

  • Select, appoint, and support a chief executive to whom responsibility for the administration of the organization is delegated.
  • Review and evaluate the chief executive’s performance regularly. Govern the organization by broad policies and objectives that are formulated by the chief executive.
  • Insure appropriate management of DOE supplied resources for the organization's operations
  • Account to the stakeholders and public for the management and work activities of the organization.

The Fermilab Director, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer are the bridge between the Laboratory and the Board of Directors. Their primary responsibility is to carry out the strategic plans and policies as approved by the Board of Directors and by DOE.

The Director, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer are accountable to the board for:

  • Contributing to the development of annual goals and objectives;
  • Ensuring that procedures and overall management are designed in accordance with established board policy;
  • Informing the Board of existing or impending policy issues; and
  • Issuing an assurance declaration to the DOE that describes the compliance status of requirements defined by the Management and Operations contract for the laboratory.

The Fermilab Management System Owners are responsible for the day- to-day oversight and management of the eleven defined management systems. Their primary focus is ensuring that all elements of each management system are applied as appropriate across the laboratory.

The Fermilab Associate Laboratory Directors are responsible for the day-to-day management of the laboratory. Their primary focus is ensuring Accomplishment of the mission as defined by the strategic plan for the laboratory.

The Fermilab Division, Section and/or Center (D/S/C) Heads have day-to-day management responsibilities that include managing and directing specific projects or tasks.

Councils and Committees:

The FRA CAS Committee advises the FRA BOD on issues related to the implementation, adequacy, and improvements of CAS at Fermilab.

The Laboratory Assurance Council (AC) provides assurance to the Laboratory Director that the Fermilab Integrated Contractor Assurance System provides sufficient internal control and that oversight systems are in place and operating properly. The Assurance Council also provides oversight of issues management.

2.2 Corporate Governance

The University of Chicago (UChicago) and Universities Research Association, Inc. (URA) joined together to create Fermi Research Alliance, LLC (FRA). FRA, a limited liability company (LLC), was established for the sole purpose of managing and operating the Laboratory in accordance with the prime contract with the DOE.

2.2.1 Board of Directors

The FRA Board of Directors (BOD) is appointed by the partners of FRA, LLC to manage and oversee operations of the Laboratory. The FRA Board Chairman provides the DOE with single-point point of contact for communications with FRA. The BOD consists of the Chairman of the Board, who is currently the President of UChicago; a Vice-Chair, who currently is the Executive Chairman of the URA Board of Trustees; and twenty two additional members drawn from industry, government, academia, research and other leadership positions. The Director of the Laboratory is appointed by the BOD with the approval of the DOE. The Laboratory Director reports to the FRA BOD Chairman and the Board of Directors. The Laboratory Director is responsible for the direction, performance and supervision of the work of the Laboratory in accordance with the prime contract with the DOE and the policies and procedures of the Board of Directors.

The duties, powers, and governance of the BOD focus primarily in the following areas:

  • Stewardship : UChicago and URA provide “corporate reach back” either to deal with specific, urgent issues or issues where the Laboratory can benefit from the unique resources of one or both corporate parents.
  • Guidance and Advice : The BOD assists and advises the Director in formulating a laboratory strategy that is embraced by DOE and the U.S. HEP community. University and U.S. laboratory leaders on the BOD insure that the laboratory provides an intellectual environment conducive to world-class research and development. Expert advice from industry, government, and academia to assist the Director and his leadership team in ensuring that best practices are introduced and that infrastructure, staffing and budget are appropriately established and maintained.
  • Advocacy and Outreach : Members of the BOD serve as advocates and ambassadors on behalf of the Laboratory to help ensure adequate support is available for execution of the Laboratory mission.

2.2.2 BOD Committees

FRA executes its stewardship function through the full BOD and (a) BOD Committees whose charter, membership and scope are defined by the BOD and which meet at regular meetings of the BOD; and (b) Standing Review Committees which meet according to their individual timetables to assess the operations and scientific programs of the Laboratory and provide assurance to the BOD. There are at present seven BOD Committees (four of which have direct oversight of Laboratory functions):

  • Executive – provides executive leadership for the BOD and acts as a proxy for the full Board;
  • Administrative & Finance – oversees the management of fiscal and operational systems, and manages Laboratory-wide non-scientific risk issues;
  • Audit – oversees the internal and external audit function;
  • Compensation – oversees human resource systems as well as compensation and succession planning for key personnel;
  • Environment, Safety & Health – oversees Laboratory policies, programs, and practices relevant to employee, customer and public safety and health;
  • Physics - oversees the present and short-term scientific functions of the Laboratory including all scientific activities, evaluation of scientific risk, and management of research facilities;
  • Science Planning - provides advice and support to Laboratory management for issues surrounding new and proposed, long-term major science initiatives, directions and collaborations (international & domestic)

The full BOD and the BOD Committees generally meet every four months (February, June, and October). At each full board meeting, strategic topics are presented to the BOD, as they are responsible for periodic review of the strategic plan. Performance data, DOE requirements, the findings and the Laboratory’s response to specific programmatic (i.e., science and technology) and operational reviews are disseminated in full board meetings. Staff members from Laboratory management and FRA support each BOD committee by documenting, monitoring, and facilitating the execution of action items from each meeting.

There are presently two Standing Review Committees of the BOD, one of which assesses the scientific mission of the Laboratory (Visiting Committee for Scientific Programs) and one which is responsible for Contractor Assurance (CAS Review Committee) – See Figure 1.

Figure 1: Corporate Governance Organization Chart

Each Standing Review Committee has two members of the BOD and a sufficient number of subject matter experts to assess the relevant area(s) adequately. Review Committee members have staggered terms to ensure an appropriate balance of continuity and turnover. In collaboration with FRA and the Laboratory Director, the charge and scope of each review are determined by the Standing Review Committee Chair; and Review Committee meetings and assessments are conducted at least once annually. After a Review Committee assesses performance, findings and recommendations are reported first to Laboratory management. Reports are shared and discussed with the full BOD at a subsequent Board meeting. FRA Board of Directors staff coordinates the reviews and are responsible for capturing action items and tracking and reporting resolution of action items and final outcomes. The FRA Review Committee process is illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2: BOD Review Committee Assessment Process

2.3 Contractor Assurance Review Committee

The BOD CAS Review Committee is comprised of two BOD members and three to four additional subject matter experts (SMEs) with staggered terms to ensure an appropriate balance of continuity and turnover. The initial BOD members include the Chair and a member of the Administrative and Finance Committee, both of whom closely coordinate with the other committees, including the Environment, Safety and Health Committee.

The CAS Review Committee functions as an extension of the FRA BOD and provides: 1) expert assurance to the Board that the Laboratory has a robust and effective CAS in place; and 2) advice and assistance to the Laboratory in identifying and managing issues related to its CAS and helping the Laboratory prepare for periodic external CAS peer reviews. The CAS Review Committee meets as often as necessary to insure adequate performance of its primary function.

The Chair of the CAS Review Committee is required to present results of the CAS review(s) once annually to the full BOD. BOD members who serve on the CAS Committee are available to answer additional questions and provide Board perspectives

2.4 Partnership with DOE

The Fermi Site Office and The Director of the laboratory have signed a Partnership Agreement to formally declare their commitment to work in full partnership to achieve the mission of the laboratory and fulfill their responsibilities to the public, our employees, the scientific community, and the American people. A key element of the implementation of this agreement is clear and concise communication.

2.4.1 Timely and Appropriate Communication

In order to facilitate timely and appropriate communication to the DOE Site Manager, Contracting Officer and other appropriate DOE staff, FRA and the Laboratory have developed an internet-based repository of CAS-related information ( . The repository includes detailed information utilized by the CAS Committee in conducting its assessments, and reports generated by the Committee and reported to the BOD. In addition, senior leadership provides routine verbal CAS updates to DOE leadership throughout the year. FRA routinely provides access to and shares management information with the DOE through a combination of informal and formal mechanisms. Senior leadership of FRA conducts standing and impromptu meetings throughout the year with the DOE Fermilab Site Office (FSO) to provide information, obtain input, feedback and address issues as they arise. UChicago and URA also meet by phone and in person as necessary with appropriate DOE officials at Office of Science headquarters for the same purposes.

2.5 Laboratory Management of Contractor Assurance

Fermilab's management is comprised of two main elements: line management and process management. Line management determines what Fermilab will do. The process management system, tells employees how to accomplish activities needed to get work done. The combined effort is focused on achieving Fermilab's science mission in an efficient and effective manner.

2.5.1 Fermilab Management Structure

Fermilab operates under a line management structure, a hierarchical chain of command from the Laboratory Director down to front-line employees Fermilab’s line management structure provides clear roles, responsibilities, authorities, and accountabilities (R2A2’s) for our workforce so that work at the Laboratory can be directed and conducted in an efficient manner.

The Directorate organization chart is shown in Figure 3:

Figure 3: Fermilab Organization

2.5.2 Contractor Assurance and Management System Integration .

Uniform management system integration ensures efficiency and/or effectiveness across laboratory organizations.

  • Vertical integration is facilitated by the downward flow of information regarding expectations for management system and program implementation. Vertical integration begins with management and continues down through the organization lines to the individual worker.
  • Horizontal integration provides parity and compatibility to avoid conflicting requirements among organizations and technical disciplines.
  • Assurance systems are either part of a management system or stand-alone program and comply with the Fermilab Director’s Policy Manual .

O = Management System Owner
Figure 4: FRA/Fermilab Management Systems

2.5.3 Organizational Management Structure Vs Contractor Assurance

The director is responsible for all programs and delegates to the Office of Quality and Best Practices (OQBP), a part of the Office of Program and Project Support (OPPS), the day-to-day management of the Contractor Assurance Program. Operation of the Contractor Assurance Program consists of several major components with clear, documented descriptions of activities. Managers understand the description of their responsibilities, and a clear plan of key activities has been developed. OQBP coordinates site-wide assessment activities for the Contractor Assurance Program to assure the highest risk processes are included. Functional organizations provide assurance information in the form of assessment reports and metrics. Assessment reports are reviewed for breadth, depth and consistency, and feedback is provided to the functional organizations.

2.5.4 Contractor Assurance Oversight within the Laboratory

Oversight of the FNAL CAS system is provided by the Assurance Council. The Assurance Council is chaired by the Chief Operating Officer and its membership includes the Associate Laboratory Directors, key CAS management system owners and subject matter experts. The AC charter and other information on its activities is found at ( Additional information concerning the operation of the AC may also be found in Section of 4.4 of this document.

Last modified: 05/15/2012 |