Operational and contract compliance are integral components of the Commercial Services Program's mission to provide a good experience for national park visitors. The National Park Service provides processes and works with concessioners to ensure quality services, reasonable rates, well-maintained facilities, and overall environmental stewardship. One of the primary instruments used in the arena of operations management is the Standards, Evaluation and Rate Administration (SERA) program.
As part of the SERA program, evaluations of concessions operations are conducted at least once annually. Information is gathered by various concession specialists in order to generate a rating for the concession based on the following factors: risk management, public health, environmental management, as well as overall contract compliance. This annual rating is used to determine the further renewal of a particular contract and to address any issues that may need improvement.
The rate approval process establishes methods and systems for review and approval of concessioner rates. The process ensures that rates charged to the public for the use of concessioner-assigned facilities and services are in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and NPS policy. Rates are reviewed on an annual basis and are approved by Park Superintendents. Depending on the type of product or service being priced, various rate methods are applied to determine rate administration.
Each concessioner is required to develop and implement a comprehensive, written environmental management program. Periodic audits by third-party contractors are conducted for all Category I and Category II contracts. In accordance with the Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998, the Commercial Services Program has four primary goals to advance environmental management by concessioners:
- Achieve and maintain environmental compliance as a minimum performance level for concessioners.
- Promote environmental management and advance sound environmental strategies for all concessioners.
- Increase concessioner awareness and knowledge of environmental topics and programs.
- Lead by example and promulgate recognition of services that demonstrate environmental excellence
Concession contracts require each concessioner to develop a risk management program that is in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and is appropriate in scope to the size and nature of the operation. Concessioners are responsible for managing all of their operations to minimize risk and control loss due to accident, illness, or injury. To ensure compliance, the NPS requires periodic administrative reviews by concession specialists.
Concessioners who prepare or serve food on park lands are subject to inspection for compliance with all applicable health and sanitation requirements of local and state agencies, the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Food and Drug Administration. The inspections are be conducted by a Public Health Service representative.