Sneak Preview: USDA Will Assess Usage of Suspension, Debarment

October 27, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) leadership is taking steps to ensure its various offices understand their enforcement authority and consider suspension and debarment for noncompliant recipients in its federal award programs, in response to recent recommendations from the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG).

USDA issued Departmental Regulation (DR) 2280-001 in January 2013, which describes the department’s standards for implementing suspension and debarment for all USDA procurement and nonprocurement programs and activities. DR 2280-001 describes nonprocurement and procurement transactions, identifies causes for suspension and debarment action, and provides instruction for USDA agencies (e.g., Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Agricultural Marketing Service) to follow when implementing suspension and debarment.

DR 2280-001 also documents the responsibilities of the department, agencies and others for properly administering suspension and debarment practices. USDA’s Office of Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) and the Office of Procurement and Property Management are responsible for coordinating suspension and debarment issues within USDA and with other federal agencies. The regulation also created USDA’s Suspension and Debarment Council, which “better coordinates USDA efforts for ensuring effective implementation of suspension and debarment procedures.”

In a recent audit, however, OIG found that 12 of 17 USDA agencies did not comply with one or more of the requirements for USDA’s suspension and debarment program. For example, three agencies did not consider suspension and debarment for program participants convicted of fraud and bribery. OIG noted that this occurred because the Suspension and Debarment Council, which is composed of members from each of the department’s agencies, did not enable effective implementation of USDA’s suspension and debarment regulations. In addition, these regulations do not provide detailed explanation of the council’s roles and responsibilities, OIG explained.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)

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