Subcontracts and consultants are two very different budget items and how they are handled are completely differently. Although you may think of consultants as contractors, they are not subcontractors. Subcontracts are solely to other institutions which are collaborating on the science (participating in cruises, conducting experiments, etc.) rather than simply providing a service as do consultants (providing sample analyses, etc.).
Subcontracts that you included in your proposal are established by our ORAA office and are initiated upon receipt of your award . Finalizing the subcontract may take some time because the terms and conditions that are required by the University of Maryland must be agreed to by the subcontracting institution, signed by both parties, and returned to ORAA. Once the subcontract is established, the subcontracting institution may begin work on the project and issue invoices against the subcontract. You are responsible for ensuring that the subcontractor is satisfactorily performing the tasks that they have agreed to do and obtain any progress reports or other deliverables from the subcontractor.
Consultant agreements are established prior to the work being done through standard procurement procedures. They are often identified in the proposal but, typically, no paperwork has been officially exchanged between UMCES and the consultant prior to the receipt of the award. Small consultant agreements (those less than $5000) can be initiated and processed through the Business Office but follow the same basic requirements as standard consulting agreements. Always discuss your needs with the Business Office so they have the opportunity to assist you with these types of procurement. Consultants may not be University or State employees. All consultants must provide their social security number, a complete and detailed list of the services they will be providing, an itemization of the costs of those services, the effective dates of the agreement, and where the work will be performed to initiate the procurement process. Consulting agreements exceeding $5000 will be sent to Procurement for processing. It helps if you have named the consultant in the proposal and include that portion of the award with the procurement paperwork, but that alone will not guarantee that the consultant you have specified will be the one selected. However, doing so will significantly increase the likelihood that the consultant you have specified will be selected. You can greatly increase the likelihood of the person you have specified being awarded the consulting agreement if you complete a Sole Source procurement form that provides a justification for that person being the only or best person for the work being performed. However, if the work is generic in nature and there are obviously many capable people or companies that can provide that service, it may still be placed for competitive bidding by Procurement. As with subcontractors, it is your responsibility to ensure that the consultant is satisfactorily performing the service or providing the deliverable agreed to in the purchase order.
Please note that, for accounting purposes, the Business Office encumbers the full cost of any subcontract or consulting agreement to ensure that the account does not become inadvertently overspent because UMCES is legally required to pay up to the full amount of the subcontract or consulting agreement.