The consultant will conduct initial interviews and develop reports in support of the agency’s Crisis Advisory Teams.
The Social Security Administration is looking to bolster its workplace violence threat assessment capabilities by adding a contractor specializing in clinical or forensic psychology to meet new demands encountered during the ongoing pandemic.
SSA manages an internal team that investigates and responds to potential instances of workplace violence, but those teams have become overstretched and out of their depth with the increase in domestic violence as employees work from home during the pandemic, according to a solicitation posted through FedConnect.
The Workplace and Domestic Violence Program was established in 2015 to “intake and manage violence risk cases” among SSA’s 65,000 employees. The program consists of 12 Crisis Advisory Teams, or CATs, totaling 180 employees from multiple disciplines spread across the country.
The CATs program is mostly centered on potential threats from within the agency, though the wider Workplace and Domestic Violence Program has a broader mandate, which CATs also supports. Identifying threats from outside SSA “is becoming more relevant as the agency has expanded its telework program,” the statement of work notes, citing increases in domestic violence during the pandemic.
“The SSA has a need for specialized assistance over and above that of what the agency’s CATs can provide for workplace violence, domestic threats, and other threats from outside of the organization,” the solicitation states. “This assistance encompasses support in the area of behavioral threat assessments by SSA employees. As a result, SSA seeks a tailored consultation from an external behavioral threat assessment professional organization.”
The contract seeks a “qualified behavioral threat assessment professional organization” that the agency can tap “to consult on challenging violence risk cases upon request.”
The statement of work outlines the specific steps the contractor will be expected to take once a potential threat—an employee—is identified.
The process starts when a SSA official calls or emails the contractor with the name and contact information of the potential threat, along with other relevant information. From there, a contractor with a doctorate in either clinical psychology or forensic psychology will have eight to 10 hours to reach out and engage with the employee for an initial consultation.
After the initial consultation, the contractor will follow up with up to five additional steps, depending on the case:
- Information evaluation estimate, in which the contractor determines the number of billable hours and resources the case will take to resolve.
- Case strategy recommendations, including an analysis of the background of the case, the initial risk assessment, recommended timeframe and planned approach.
- Behavioral threat assessment report showing the results of the investigation into the alleged offense and any potential threat.
- Risk management plan based on the agency’s feedback to the threat assessment report.
- Information briefings for “certain rare circumstances” where a follow-up meeting is required.
The contractor must also be able to meet the highest standards of privacy and data security, as they will be accessing and creating highly sensitive personal information. The statement of work outlines the specific privacy and security procedures the vendor will be expected to take.
The contract is expected to run for a base of one year, starting Sept. 27, with four one-year add-on options and one additional six-month option at the end.
Responses are due by 6 p.m. Aug. 31.
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