Friday, September 16, 2011

DoD and Its Hotline Posters

Today, the DoD published a final rule requiring all contractors with a contract greater than $5 million, to prominently post the DoD IG hotline poster in common work areas within all business segments performing work on DoD contracts and, if the contractor maintains a company website as a method of providing information to employees, the contractor must display an electronic version of the poster there as well.

FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) has contained a requirement to display hotline posters for several years. However, FAR has an exemption for certain contractors. FAR 52.203-14(c) states that if contractors have implemented a business ethics and conduct awareness program, including a reporting mechanism, such as a hotline poster, the contractor need not display any agency fraud hotline posters.

The DoD IG (Inspector General) determined that this exemption has the "potential to make the DoD hotline program less effective by ultimately reducing contractor exposure to DoD IG fraud hotline posters and diminishing the means by which fraud, waste, and abuse can be reported under the protection of Federal whistleblower protection laws".  According to the DoD IG, some contractors' posters may not be as effective as the DoD poster in advertising the hotline number, which is integral to the fraud program.

The new DFARS (DoD FAR Supplement) clause, 252.203-7004, replaces FAR 52.203-14 and provides no exception to the use of the DoD hotline poster for contractors that have implemented a business ethics and conduct awareness program, even those that include a reporting mechanism such as hotline poster.

You can download or order hotline poster at the DoD-IG's website.

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