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3.10 Conference Approval, Planning, and Reporting


The following definitions pertain specifically to conference costs. Additional definitions can be found in the Glossary of Terms, Appendix 5.2.

Agenda means a formal agenda that provides a list of all activities that shall occur during the event, using an hour-by-hour timeline. It must specifically include the times during the event when food and/or beverages will be provided.

Conference is defined broadly, and includes meetings, retreats, seminars, symposia, or training activities.
See 41 CFR § 300-3.1.

  • A conference typically is a prearranged formal event with at least some of the following characteristics: designated participants and/or registration, a published substantive agenda, and scheduled speakers or discussion panels on a particular topic.
  • A conference typically is not a routine operational meeting, a law enforcement operation or prosecutorial activity in connection with a specific case or criminal activity, a testing activity, or a technical assistance visit. Please refer to the definitions of these set out below to decide whether your event requires prior approval and reporting under this guidance.

Conference costs and conference expenses mean all costs using DOJ funds associated with planning, hosting, sponsoring, or otherwise holding any conference, including all of the categories of costs listed below:

  1. Conference meeting space (including rooms for breakout sessions)
  2. Audio-visual equipment and services
  3. Printing and distribution
  4. Meals provided at the event (generally unallowable)
  5. Refreshments (generally unallowable)
  6. Meals and incidental expenses (M&IE portion of per diem)
  7. Lodging
  8. Air travel to/from conference
  9. Local transportation (e.g., rental car, privately owned vehicle to-and-from-the airport, taxi)
  10. Logistical conference planner
  11. Programmatic conference planner
  12. Trainers, instructors, presenters, or facilitators
  13. Other costs which must be identified individually
  14. Staff time associated with planning and holding the conference
  15. Indirect costs/overhead rates applied to direct costs associated with the conference (In accordance with negotiated agreements, all indirect costs associated with a conference must be applied to the above categories as appropriate and reported as conference costs.)

Law enforcement operation means events that involve staging (as well as victim service provider staging related to a law enforcement operation), surveillance, investigation, intelligence, and undercover activities, and other activities directly related to active law enforcement operations. For example:

  • A meeting between the police department and local trafficking service providers related to an impending raid on a labor trafficking site would be a law enforcement operation.
  • However, a conference about human trafficking that brought together the police department and local trafficking service providers to train, discuss their overall trafficking initiatives, and develop professional relationships, would not be a law enforcement operation.

A routine operational meeting typically does not have a formal published agenda, scheduled speakers, or discussion panels, and is defined as an event where the:

  • Primary focus is the recipient's day-to-day operations and concerns (e.g., staff meetings, all hands meetings);
  • Attendees overwhelmingly are internal to the organization holding the meeting; and
  • Answer to all ten questions on the checklist on the No Prior Approval Required page is “No.”

Technical assistance visit means travel by an individual or a small group of grantee/contractor staff members or consultants to provide training or technical assistance to a particular entity, where there are no costs to DOJ funds for meeting rooms, conference planning, or trinkets. Reasonable travel costs (lodging, transportation, local transportation, audio-visual, printing, and meals and incidental expenses [M&IE]) for technical assistance staff may be reimbursed.

Testing activity means an event where the primary purpose is to evaluate an individual's qualifications to perform certain duties necessary to perform his or her job. The most common examples include events held for firearms and weaponry proficiency testing and certifications. A majority of the event must be devoted to the administration and taking of the test. An event that includes testing that is merely incidental to the event, or where such testing is given upon the completion of the event to evaluate the event or determine participation in the event, is not a testing activity.

Federal facility means property or building space owned, leased, or substantially controlled by the Federal Government or the government of the District of Columbia.

Non-Federal facilityis any facility that is not a Federal facility. State and local facilities are considered "non-federal facilities". For further clarification see 5 U.S.C. 4101(6).

Logistical conference planners perform the logistical planning necessary to hold a conference, which may include: recommending venues, advertising, setting the stage and arranging for audio-visual equipment, securing hotel rooms, interacting with caterers, and other non-programmatic functions.

Programmatic conference planners develop the conference agenda, content, and written materials. They may also identify and/or provide appropriate subject matter experts and conference participants.

Total Costs are defined as direct and indirect costs.

Per Attendee means all attendees, federal and non-federal.

Subaward/Subcontract means any agreement under which the award recipient outsources work, goods, or services related to the conference; indirect cost rates may only be allocated to the first $25,000 of incurred cost.