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BNL Prime Contract No. DE-SC0012704


Part I, Section H. Special Contract Requirements

Clause H.32 – Conference Management (Sept 2015)

Last Revised: 10/28/2015  |  Per Mod #0028

The Contractor agrees that:

(a) The Contractor shall ensure that Contractor-sponsored conferences reflect the DOE/NNSA's commitment to fiscal responsibility, appropriate stewardship of taxpayer funds and support the mission of DOE/NNSA as well as other sponsors of work. In addition, the contractor will ensure conferences do not include any activities that create the appearance of taxpayer funds being used in a questionable manner.

(b) Determination of a Conference.

(1) Definition. "Conference" is defined in the Federal Travel Regulation as, "a meeting, retreat, seminar, symposium, or event that involves attendee travel". The term 'conference' also applies to training activities that are considered to be conferences under 5 C.F.R 410.404. However, this definition is only a starting point. What constitutes a conference for the purpose of this guidance is a fact-based determination based on an evaluation of the criteria established below.

(2) Additional Indicia of Conferences. Conferences subject to this guidance are also often referred to by names other than “conference”. Other common terms used include conventions, expositions, symposiums, seminars, workshops, or exhibitions. They typically involve topical matters of interest to, and the participation of, multiple agencies and/or nongovernmental participations. Indications of a formal conference often include but are not limited to registration, registration fees, a published substantive agenda, and scheduled speakers, or discussion panels. Individual events may qualify as conferences without meeting all of the indicia listed above, but will generally meet some of them. Please note that some training events may qualify as conferences for the purposes of this guidance, particularly if they take place in a hotel or conference center.

(3) Local Conferences. Events within the local duty location that do not require advance travel authorization may also qualify as a conference for the purposes of this guidance if the event exhibits other key indicia of a conference, especially the payment of a registration, exhibitor, sponsor, or conference fee.

(4) Exemptions. For the purposes of this guidance, the exemptions below apply and these types of activities should not be considered to be conferences even if the event meets the general definition of conference in section 1 above. Even where an event is considered exempt for this guidance, organizations are expected to continue to apply strict scrutiny to DOE’s participation to ensure the best use of government funds and adherence with not only all applicable laws and policy, but the underlying spirit or principles, include ensuring that only personnel attend events that have a mission-essential need to do so, that expenses be kept to a minimum, and that participation in any associated social events be limited and restrained to the greatest degree practicable to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Exemptions from this guidance should be granted sparingly and only when events fully meet the definition and intent of the criteria below:

(i) Meetings necessary to carry out statutory oversight functions. This exemption would include activities such as investigations, inspections, audits, or non-conference planning site visits.

(ii) Meetings to consider internal agency business matters held in Federal facilities. This exemption would include activities such as meetings that take place as part of an organization's regular course of business, do not exhibit indicia of a formal conference as outlined above, and take place in a Federal facility.

(iii) Bi-lateral and multi-lateral international cooperation engagements that do not exhibit indicia of a formal conference as outlined above that are focused on diplomatic relations.

(iv) Formal classroom training which does not exhibit indicia of a formal conference as outlined above.

(v) Meetings such as Advisory Committee and Federal Advisory Committee meetings, Solicitation/Funding Opportunity Announcement Review Board meetings, peer review/objective review panel meetings, evaluation panel/board meetings, and program kick-off and review meetings (including those for grants and contracts).

(c) Contractor-sponsored conferences include those events that meet the conference definition and either or both of the following:

(1) The Contractor provides funding to plan, promote, or implement an event, except in instances where the Contractor:

(i) covers participation costs in a conference for specified individuals (e.g., students, retirees, speakers, etc.) in a total amount not to exceed $10,000 (by individual contractor for a specific conference); or

(ii) purchases goods or services from the conference planners (e.g., attendee registration fees, renting booth space).

(2) The Contractor authorizes use of the official seal, or other seals/logos/ trademarks to promote a conference. Exceptions include non M&O contractors who use their seal to promote a conference that is unrelated to their DOE contract(s) (e.g., if a DOE IT contractor were to host a general conference on cyber security).

(d) Attending a conference, giving a speech or serving as an honorary chairperson does not connote sponsorship.

(e) The Contactor will provide information on conferences they plan to sponsor with expected costs exceeding $100,000 in the Department's Conference Management Tool, including:

(1) Conference title, description, and date;

(2) Location and venue;

(3) Description of any unusual expenses (e.g., promotional items);

(4) Description of contracting procedures used (e.g., competition for space/support);

(5) Costs for space, food/beverages, audio visual, travel/per diem, registration costs, recovered costs (e.g., through exhibit fees); and

(6) Number of attendees.

(f) The Contractor will not expend funds on the proposed Contractor-sponsored conferences with expenditures estimated to exceed $100,000 until notified of approval by the Contracting Officer.

(g) For DOE-sponsored conferences, the Contractor will not expend funds on the proposed conference until notified by the Contracting Officer.

(1) DOE-sponsored conferences include events that meet the definition of a conference and where the Department provides funding to plan, promote, or implement the conference and/or authorizes use of the official DOE seal, or other seals/logos/trademarks to promote a conference. Exceptions include instances where DOE:

(i) covers participation costs in a conference for specified individuals (e.g., students, retirees, speakers, etc.) in a total amount not to exceed $10,000 (by individual contractor for a specific conference); or

(ii) purchases goods or services from the conference planners (e.g., attendee registration fees, renting booth space); or providing funding to the conference planners through Federal grants.

(2) Attending a conference, giving a speech, or serving as an honorary chairperson does not connote sponsorship.

(3) The Contractor will provide cost and attendance information on their participation in all DOE-sponsored conference in the DOE Conference Management Tool.

(h) For non-Contractor sponsored conferences, the Contractor shall develop and implement a process to ensure costs related to conferences are allowable, allocable, reasonable, and further the mission of DOE/NNSA. This process must at a minimum:

(1) Track all conference expenses; and

(2) Require the Laboratory Director (or equivalent) or Chief Operating Officer approve a single conference with net costs to the contractor of $100,000 or greater.

(i) Contractors are not required to enter information on non-sponsored conferences in DOE's Conference Management Tool.

(j) Once funds have been expended on a non-sponsored conference, contractors may not authorize the use of their trademarks/logos for the conference, provide the conference planners with more than $10,000 for specified individuals to participate in the conference, or provide any other sponsorship funding for the conference. If the Contractor does so, its expenditures for the conference may be deemed unallowable.