In the our last post we looked at 6 questions you should ask to tell how safe your federal grant is from conflicts of interest.
In today’s post we’ll look at what you can do to reduce the risk of a conflict of interest affecting your organization.
Here are 5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of a Conflict of Interest
While it is nearly impossible to stop all risk of grant fraud, here are five things that professional grant managers can do to reduce the risk of a dangerous conflict of interest:
#1 Identify and Disclose
Potential conflicts of interest should be identified and disclosed to the appropriate level of official at the organization to get guidance and advice concerning the specifics of the situation
#2 Communicate and Educate
Organization officials should take steps to communicate the conflict of interest prohibitions to everyone involved in the grant. Additionally, others who may work indirectly with grant personnel should be educated on what to look for with regard to conflicts of interest in fact, and appearance.
#3 Document the Process
Require a transparent, fair and fully-documented procurement process and a regular review and maintenance of the conflict of interest statements signed by individuals responsible for purchasing goods and services.
#4 Watch Consulting Charges
When consultants are used, extra care should be taken to substantiate that their rate of pay reflects the market rate for the unique skill set being utilized and that the final result of the engagement is well-defined and a record of the results is kept.
#5 Talk to Staff
Managers and other key personnel who understand the requirements can often identify where noncompliance is likely to occur and where the risks from conflicts of interest such as kickbacks, related party transactions and bribery could occur.
Key Components to Reduce Risk
In the end, the existence and proper implementation of codes of conduct and other policies such as a written procurement process that spell out acceptable practice, conflicts-of-interest, or expected standards of ethical behavior at your organization are all key components of keeping your grant safe from the risk of conflicts of interest that will put your Federal grant in jeopardy.
Want to learn the basics of grant management? Sign up for our free 5-part series “Grant Management Basics” today.
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA
CEO, Compliance Warrior