To ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and government missions are supported by the contractor and grantee, a multitude of statutes, regulations, contract terms and conditions, and government policies exist to deter fraud, waste, abuse, and appearances of impropriety when dealing with government customers. Violations of these requirements can lead to criminal penalties, civil fines, administrative sanctions, suspension and debarment, reputational harm, and other negative consequences for contractors, grantees, and their personnel. Compliance with these requirements, however, does not just relate to avoiding the potential harsh results but also to creating more trusting work environments and stakeholder relationships, confidence in operations and decision-making, and increased government customer retention and loyalty – all of which can increase profitability and performance.
Understanding the applicable compliance requirements, however, is not enough. Government contractors and grantees must have business ethics and conduct and/or grant compliance programs and infrastructure that detect potential misconduct and ultimately prevent it from occurring, while fostering an environment where personnel are encouraged to report issues and feel secure from any retaliation for such reporting. Such programs require an effective governance structure, standards of conduct and associated policies and procedures, comprehensive training and education for personnel, monitoring and auditing elements, methods for internal and potentially external reporting of non-compliant conduct, and internal investigation and remediation processes to include potential employee discipline, root cause analyses, and subsequent program improvements. In addition, government contractor and grantee business conduct and ethics programs should undergo periodic risk assessments (to make sure that the program is addressing the most important risk areas) and periodic program assessments (to make sure that the program is up to date and implementing appropriate industry practices). These elements are reflected, for example, in Chapter 8 of the US Sentencing Guidelines, Federal Acquisition Regulation clause 52.203-13, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 19600 and 37001 standards, portions of Office of Management and Budget’s Super Circular, and other business conduct and ethics program frameworks.
The Ankura government contracts and grants team is expert in assisting clients with their business ethics and conduct, and grants compliance programs to appropriately tailor and deploy such programs in consideration of the organization’s structure, personnel skill sets, operating culture, and solutions being offered to government-end customers. In particular, the Ankura team provides clients with: