How to Write a Scope of Work for Government Relations Contracts

Scope of work defines a consultant's deliverables, areas of focus, goals.

January 8, 2022

Drafting a Scope of Work is a great first step towards building the right consulting team. For government relations and public policy advocacy consulting, we recommend writing the scope of work first, before drafting any formal requests for proposals (RFPs), statements of work, or job descriptions. This helps speed up the contracting process and provides a useful discussion document that can be shared with perspective Taskforce contractors.

Important note: scope of work is different from statement of work. A statement of work is an RFP or RFQ that defines a full project's objectives, pricing, consultant qualifications, performance criteria and other application requirements; a scope of work focuses on the work to be performed.

Our Recommendations:

Format: a bulleted list, separated into four sections: (1) Services, (2) Areas of Focus, (3) Goals and (4) Timeframe.

Length: less than one page. 

What to include in a scope of work:

  • Services to be Performed. Examples include "strategic advisory on future federal regulations for autonomous driving vehicles" or "direct lobbying on protecting endangered species in National Parks".
  • Areas of Focus & Targets. Common examples are specific legislative or regulatory bodies, committees of jurisdiction, specific members of Congress, bill numbers, sections of bills.
  • Goals. Stay realistic here. Set goals that you believe can be achieved. For example, if you want to pass landmark tax reform legislation but have no idea where to start or what the chances are, don't just say "pass tax reform". Instead, set goals of meeting with legislative staff to determine what is possible and drafting a recommendation plan.


  • Timeframe. If the focus of a specific project is the current legislative session, for example, it is important to state this. If you're looking for in-country approval for a new product before a target launch date, include this. If you're looking to raise awareness on an issue and advocacy work would be ongoing, there is no need to list a timeframe.

What not to include in a scope of work:

  • Budget. All financial information should be included in a separate document.
  • Division of labor. Task assignments and divisions of labor should happen after the scope of work has been finalized.
  • Consultant minimum qualifications. These should be addressed in a formal Request for Proposal (RFP).

To save you time, we've drafted an example scope of work for an imaginary autonomous vehicles company.