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3.10 Conference Approval, Planning, and Reporting

Conference Cost Categories

The following cost categories relating to conferences and events are items included on the Conference & Events Submission Form.

Meeting Rooms and Audio-Visual

  • Total cost limit, $25 per day per attendee, not to exceed $20,000.
  • The cost allowed for conference space and audio-visual equipment and services is limited to $25 per day per attendee not to exceed a cumulative total cost of $20,000. Total costs are defined as direct and indirect costs. Costs in excess of these established limits require additional justification and approval outside of OJP.

Printing

Every effort should be made to provide conference materials to participants electronically or via print-on-demand services/options. Printed materials should maximize paper usage (printing on both sides) and minimize higher cost options (color printing) where possible.

Meals and Refreshments

  • Generally unallowable.
  • Meals and refreshments are generally not allowable costs for conferences funded under OJP awards, unless the recipient obtains written prior approval from OJP. This applies to all awards, including contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements. In general, DOJ may approve such costs only in cases where:
  • Sustenance is not otherwise available (e.g., extremely remote areas);
  • The size of the event and nearby food/beverage vendors would make it impractical to not provide meals and/or refreshments; or
  • A special presentation at a conference requires a plenary address where there is no other time for sustenance to be obtained.
  • Water provided at no cost to the OJP award is, of course, allowable without prior approval.
  • Cost limits on meals.
  • If prior approval is obtained to provide food and/or beverages at an event, the DOJ and its grantees, cooperative agreement recipients, and contractors must all follow the limits in the Food and Beverage policy on meals.

Meals and Incidental Expenses Reimbursement

  • Deduction of meals from M&IE.
  • All conference attendees must ensure that any provided meal is deducted from their claimed M&IE. For example, if lunch is provided, the recipient must deduct the value of the lunch from the amount of M&IE claimed (even if non-DOJ funds are used to provide the meal). The General Services Administration (GSA) M&IE breakdown can be found at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/101518.

Lodging

  • Federal per diem rates preferred.
  • OJP is aware that some DOJ funding recipients may have received a DOJ memorandum entitled Restrictions on Per Diem Rates for Attendance at Conferences, dated April 27, 2012. At this time, the referenced memorandum only applies to DOJ (Federal) personnel; however funding recipients should anticipate that staying within Federal per diem rates is strongly preferred and OJP will not likely approve grantee requests for waivers to the Federal per diem rate, or cooperative agreement recipient's organizational per diem rate (whichever is applicable).
  • See Chapter 3.9 Allowable Costs for more guidance on travel costs.

Transportation

Include all costs, including baggage fees, related to common carrier transportation to and from the conference location paid with OJP funds.

Local Transportation

Include rental car, mileage to-and-from the airport or the conference (if local), and taxi charges.

Logistical Conference Planner

  • The total cost limit is $50 per attendee or $8,750, whichever is lower.
  • Cooperative agreement recipients should include all staff time related to logistical planning in this category and should be able to track these costs separately in their accounting records. All contracted, subcontracted, or subawarded logistical planning costs should also be included in this category. Total costs are defined as direct and indirect costs. Costs in excess of the established limits require additional justification and approval outside of OJP.

Programmatic Conference Planner

  • The total cost limit is $200 per attendee or $35,000, whichever is lower.
  • Cooperative agreement recipients should include all staff time related to programmatic planning in this category and should be able to track these costs separately in their accounting records. All contracted, subcontracted or subawarded programmatic planning costs should be also be included in this category. Total costs are defined as direct and indirect costs. Costs in excess of the established limits require additional justification and approval outside of OJP.

Conference Facilitator/Trainer/Instructor/Presenter

Include all trainer and speaker fees. If the fee exceeds the maximum consultant rate, please include a copy of the consultant rate approval with the Conference & Events Submission Form on one of the available extra tabs. Also include a copy of the agenda (a draft version is acceptable) in one of the available tabs with the prior approval submission.

Other

All "Other" costs must be itemized on the Conference & Events Submission Form. Detailed descriptions and justification of the Other cost line items must be provided in the additional tabs.

Indirect Rate Costs

Indirect costs associated with the direct costs necessary to plan and hold a conference must be included in all conference cost reporting. The submission form contains a column allowing for the allocation of indirect rate cost to each category.

Cooperative agreement recipients should pay particular attention to the two areas listed below to ensure that the application of indirect cost rate is in compliance with the existing requirements of the Government-wide grant rules set out in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars and regulations:

  • $25,000 Subcontract/Subaward Limitation. For Educational Institutions and Non-Profit Organizations, indirect cost rates negotiated on the basis of modified total direct costs may only be applied against the first $25,000 of any subcontract or subaward under the agreement. This limitation must be applied to all conference-related subcontracts and subawards. A subcontract or subaward is any agreement under which the awardee outsources work, goods, or services related to the conference, including those with hotels and travel agents. (2 CFR Part 220 [Educational Institutions, formerly Circular A-21], Appendix A, G[2], and 2 CFR Part 230 [Non-Profit Organizations, formerly Circular A-122], Appendix A, D[3][f])
  • Participant Support Costs. For Non-Profit Organizations, in accordance with 2 CFR Part 230, Appendix A, D(2)(C), participant support costs are generally excluded from the distribution base. “The distribution base may be total direct costs (excluding capital expenditures and other distorting items, such as major subcontracts or subgrants), direct salaries and wages, or other base which results in an equitable distribution. The distribution base shall generally exclude participant support costs as defined in paragraph 32 of Appendix B. {in 2 CFR 230}” Participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia, or training projects. This exclusion applies to the entirety of any subcontracts for the lodging and travel of conference participants or trainees (but not employees).

Please note that only employees of the Non-Profit Organization are excluded from the definition of participant support costs. Costs related to contractors of the Non-Profit Organization who are acting in the capacity of a "Conference Trainer/Instructor/Presenter/Facilitator" are considered participant support costs.

Gifts/Trinkets/Memorabilia/Commemorative Items

Trinkets (items such as hats, mugs, portfolios, t-shirts, coins, gift bags, etc., regardless of whether they include the conference name or OJP/DOJ logo) must not be purchased with DOJ funds as giveaways for conferences. Basic supplies that are necessary for use during the conference (e.g., folders, name tags) may be purchased.