Contrary to industry perception, government overseers are not hammers looking for nails, said Deputy General Counsel for Contractor Responsibility at the Department of the Air Force, Rodney A. Grandon.
Grandon made a case that contractor policing is changing. The emphasis is not on trying to rack up the numbers of suspensions and debarments, he said, but on working preemptively with companies to make sure they have vigorous ethics and compliance programs.
“The focus today is no longer on numbers. The focus today is on contractor responsibility,” he told a federal procurement conference last month in McLean, Virginia, organized by the consulting firm BDO USA.
It is a fact of life that misconduct will occur, so the government is paying more attention to what companies are doing to prevent and respond in such situations, said Grandon. He commended federal contractors that have “invested in very robust advocacy and compliance programs.” The government counts on companies to self-police, he said. “Contractors must have in place procedures and willingness to engage government to take immediate steps when misconduct occurs. Our role is to buy down the risk for our acquisition community so they don’t have to worry that the contractor they’re dealing with has a lack of integrity or past performance problems.”
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