Exercise judgment without compromising your ethics: We’ve seen it all in 2012 – from suspension to debarment. Pressure has pushed some people to behave unethically. Don’t let that pressure affect your company. When it comes to ethics, proactively implement policies instead of “learning your lesson” later on. All government contractors, large and small, need to have and keep up with their ethics policies.
“Cloud adoption will move from an option to a ‘must have:’” As reported by Government Technology, in the coming year the cloud’s impact on business and government strategies will continue to accelerate, and it will be the biggest driver behind major IT decisions and the biggest IT disruption in 25 years. While the cloud push is not new this year, the next wave of cloud technology, including support and mission systems, will shift your business model and add new requirements to IT contracts in the year to come. Continue reading »
Joe Jordan, recently appointed Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy wrote in his blog that “It is critical that the government take a hard line against those who would defraud taxpayers.” This is much more than rhetoric because Mr. Jordan went on to cite statistics released by the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee indicating the suspensions and debarments have increased from approximately 1,900 in GFY 2009 to Continue reading »
On February 6, 2012, the Air Force listed the San Antonio, TX office of Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) on the Excluded Parties List System. A February 8, 2012, 8-K filing with the SEC, BAH stated the suspension relates solely to its San Antonio office and individually to two current and three former employees.
The issue stems from the actions of a former government employee hired by BAH who retained and shared sensitive data about a pending procurement BAH was going to bid on. Continue reading »
Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the Department of Justice will continue its aggressive enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The FCPA is a federal law that prohibits U.S. companies and individuals from making Continue reading »
In this environment of transparency in government contracting, it is now more important than ever to ensure that all of your representations and certifications are accurate and truthful. Platinum One Contracting has agreed to pay the United States $200,000 for filing false representations. In order to obtain set-aside contracts, Platinum represented that it was Continue reading »
The information contained in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), euphemistically known as the “bad contractor” database, will become become publicly available. Though access to FAPISS was originally limited to certain government employees, Congress has now directed the Office of Management and Budget Continue reading »
Government contractors are now subject to unprecedented scrutiny. Conducting business in an ethical manner has never been more important. Years of success in the government contracting market, as well as personal reputations, can be ruined by one ethical lapse.
The government recently imposed significant new ethics and compliance requirements designed to prevent and detect improper conduct. Join Aronson & Company’s Tom Marcinko and Ethical Advocate’s Jacob Blass for a complimentary webinar on October 6, 2010, as they discuss the requirements contained in the “Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct”, FAR Subpart 3.10 and FAR clause 52.203-13. The discussion will include:
- Which contractors are exempt from the requirements
- Differing requirements for large versus small businesses
- Codes of Conduct
- Mandatory Disclosure
- Internal Controls
- Training Options and Advantages
- Benefits of an Ethical Environment Continue reading »
The FAR council issued a final rule on March 23rd that established the Federal Awardee Performance & Integrity Information System, (FAPIIS). FAPIIS is being implemented in response to a requirement contained in the 2009 Defense Authorization Act.
FAPIIS is designed to be a comprehensive database containing information on contractor responsibility, performance, and integrity. The database will include information from the Excluded Parties List, the Past Performance Information Retrieval System, nonresponsiblity determinations, terminations for default, defective pricing determinations, criminal convictions, and civil liabilities. FAPIIS will obtain this information from existing databases, contracting officers, and suspension and debarment officials. Also, any contractor submitting a proposal that exceeds $500,000 and having more than $10 million in active contracts and grants as of the time of proposal submission, must report in FAPIIS information pertaining to criminal, civil and administrative
proceedings through which a requisite determination of fault was made.
Companies will be notified when information is added to their FAPIIS record and will have the right to post comments which will be included in the record. Contracting Officers must, (1) review the FAPIIS database prior to awarding contracts in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold, (2) document how the information in FAPISS was used, and (3) notify the suspension and debarment officials if the FAPIIS information seems to warrant such drastic action.
In response to industry concerns, FAPIIS will not be open to the public. In the future, the Government plans to add contracts with state governments, reduce the threshold for FAPIIS reporting, and include information on crimes that aren’t directly related to government contracting.
Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) Accounting System Control Audits incorporate the new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Ethics Rules. DCAA issued open audit guidance 09-PAS-014(R) incorporating the new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Ethics Rules in late July 2009. The guidance incorporates the new FAR Ethics requirements into DCAA System Control Audits. It requires auditors to incorporate procedures to address the requirements in FAR 52.203-13, Contractor Code of Business Ethics and FAR 52.203-14, Display of Hotline Poster. (See more on the Contractor Code of Business Ethics Final Rule in our previous posting).
The additional procedures included in the updated audit work programs include:
- Verification of the existence of a written code of conduct.
- Review the code of conduct to ensure it addresses the following:
a. Ethical business practices
b. Conflicts of interest
c. Expected standards of ethical and moral behavior
d. Indication that the code covers dealings with customers, suppliers, employees, and other parties.
- Verification that written codes of conduct are periodically communicated to all employees, formally acknowledged and cite consequences for violations.
- Verification of the Display of Hotline Posters
- Verification that the manager responsible for the ethics program reports to a high level official (vice president/CFO)
- Verification that the contractor performs periodic reviews of company business practices, procedures, and internal controls for compliance with the contractor’s code of business ethics and conduct and special requirements of Government contracting.
And much more…..Is your organization’s Ethics program ready to stand the DCAA audit test?
Please contact Nicole Mitchell (301.222.8231) or Thomas Marcinko (301.231.6237) to assist your organization in preparation and implementation of an Ethics program compliant with current FAR regulations.
Refresh 23 for the GSA IT Schedule solicitation issued on March 31, 2009 included a little noticed but potentially significant change to the terms and conditions. The refresh added FAR Clause 52.203-13 “Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct” to the Group 70 IT Schedule solicitation. This controversial clause requires the contractor to (1) have a written code of business ethics and conduct, (2) exercise due diligence to prevent and detect criminal conduct, (3) promote compliance, and (4) disclose possible violations to the Government. In addition, large businesses must implement an awareness and compliance program as well as a sophisticated set of internal controls.
The clause is only required in contracts that are anticipated to exceed $5 million dollars in total value. Based on further discussions, GSA has decided that the clause is inapplicable to IT schedule contracts and plans to remove the clause in the next refresh. GSA did state however, that ordering activities may add the clause to any orders that exceed $5 million.
What We Are Writing
- A Marriage of Inconvenience: GSA Schedule Contracts & The Contractor Code of Business Ethics & Conduct Clause
- Emerging Small Businesses: To Grow Your Business, You Must Plan For Growth
- Government Contracting: Look Before You Leap!
- GSA Schedules – Strategies for Success
- New Employee vs. Independent Contractor Considerations
- Pay on Display – Understanding the Executive Compensation and Subcontractor Data Reporting Requirements & Ramifications
- The GSA Schedule: Your Ticket to the Federal Market (May 2010)
- The New FAR Codes of Conduct and Compliance Program Provisions
- The Seven Deadly Sins (of contract compliance)