Suspension & Debarment Gets A Push From OMB
March 12, 2012
By: Lindsay Simmons
The Government Accountability Office recently found that most federal agencies lack active and effective suspension and debarment programs, putting the government at unnecessary risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.
To remedy this situation, the Director of OMB has directed agencies to take the following actions:
- Appoint a senior official who will be responsible for assessing the agency's suspension and debarment program and ensuring the agency participates on the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee;
- Review internal policies, procedures, and guidance to ensure the agency is protecting the Government's interests and taxpayer funds by effectively using suspension and debarment (as well as other remedies) to ensure, before an award is made, that potential contractors and recipients have the requisite business integrity.
- Ensure the agency, prior to the award of any Federal grants, contracts, or benefits, reviews all relevant sources to prevent awards from being made to entities that are suspended or debarred or are otherwise non-responsible.
- If the agency finds it improperly made an award to a suspended or debarred entity, take immediate corrective action, including appropriate action regarding the specific award and the creation of controls and procedures to prevent recurrence.
What does this mean for a government contractor, subcontractor or recipient? It means that agencies will be stepping up their suspension and debarment activities. Which in turn means that contractors, subcontractors and recipients must be (i) diligent in their efforts to conduct business in an ethical and complaint manner and (ii) careful not to do business with those who are suspended or debarred or otherwise do not have the requisite business integrity.
Lindsay Simmons is the attorney responsible for the content of this post.