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Events, Planning and Financial

    Title:

    Events, Planning and Financial

    Publication date:

    9/10/2013

    Effective date:

    9/9/2011

    BRIEF

    Policy Summary

    All requests for on- or off-site Berkeley Lab events (meetings, conferences, or special events) with associated costs (such as food and beverage) are approved and processed through the Laboratory's Event Approval Database. Meals provided while conducting Laboratory business will be supplied in a reasonable mannerthat minimizes costs and is consistent with the public perception of appropriateness wherever possible.  Cost reasonableness must also be considered and applied as it relates to all Berkeley Lab events and meals.

    Berkeley Lab complies with DOE Contract 31, and with the requirements set forth in other relevant DOE and federal regulations, particularly as they relate to DOE conference reporting and approvals and any activities associated with Laboratory events and meals.

    Who Should Read This Policy

    Any employee involved with the management, planning, or hosting of Berkeley Lab events

    To Read the Full Policy, Go To:

    The POLICY tab of this wiki page

    Contact Information

    Conference Services Manager or send an e-mail to ConferenceServices@lbl.gov

    Title:

    Events, Planning and Financial

    Publication date:

    9/10/2013

    Effective date:

    9/9/2011

    D.1 General
    D.2 Traveling to an Event
    D.3 Funding Sources
    D.4 Registration Fees
    D.5 Exhibitor Fees
    D.6 Event Sponsorships
    D.7 Approvals
    D.8 Meals at Laboratory Events
    D.9 Off-site Events
    D.10 Recruitment Meals
    D.11 Meals for Laboratory Affiliates
    D.12 Community/Public Relations Events
    D.13 Strategic Planning and Institutional Events
    D.14 Allowability
    D.15 Gratuities
    D.16 Expenses Incurred for Logistics Staff Working During the Event
    D.17 Accounting
    D.18 Surplus Event Revenue
    D.19 Sustainable (Green) Events

    POLICY

    A. Purpose

    This policy provides guidance for managing events while conducting Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) business. It replaces the Food and Beverage, Meetings, and Conferences policies. The term "event" refers to meetings, conferences, and special events (e.g., vendor fairs, open houses, or site visits). The event chairperson must ensure that adequate funding is secured and the event complies with this policy, Contract 31, Department of Energy (DOE) requirements, and the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR).

    B. Persons Affected

    Any employee involved with the management, planning, or hosting of Berkeley Lab events

    C. Exceptions

    None

    D. Policy Statement

    Employees must exercise discretion and judgment in ensuring that event expenses are appropriate, necessary, and managed in a manner that minimizes unnecessary spending.

    D.1 General

    This policy applies to Berkeley Lab-hosted or co-hosted business-related events conducted on- or off-site, using the funding sources listed in Section D.3, Funding Sources. It also complies with the requirements set forth in other relevant DOE and federal regulations, particularly as they relate to DOE conference reporting and approvals and any activities associated with Laboratory events and meals.

    1. For the purpose of this policy, “on-site” refers to any Laboratory-owned or leased facility located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The University of California campus building space is not considered an on-site facility.
    2. Meals provided while conducting Laboratory business will be supplied in a reasonable manner that minimizes costs and is consistent with the public perception of appropriateness wherever possible. Cost reasonableness must also be considered and applied as it relates to all Berkeley Lab events and meals. Costs are reasonable if, in their nature and amount, they are not excessive compared to that which would be incurred by a prudent person in the conduct of business. What is considered reasonable can depend on a variety of considerations and circumstances, including:
      1. Whether the type of cost is generally recognized as ordinary and necessary for the conduct of Laboratory business or performance
      2. Generally accepted sound business practices
      3. Berkeley Lab’s responsibilities to the government, other customers, business owners, employees, and the public at large
      4. Any significant deviations from Berkeley Lab’s established practices
    3. All requests for on- or off-site events with associated costs are processed and approved through the Laboratory's Event Approval Database.

    D.2 Traveling to an Event

    The Berkeley Lab TRavel and EXpense System (TREX) is the only place where data related to traveling to an event will be stored. Travel data entry in the Event Approval Database is not required. Costs for traveling to an event will be reimbursed in accordance with TREX (see Travel Policy). In addition, all travel to a conference is to be reported to the division business manager as required in the December 6, 2012, DOE memorandum, Updated Guidance on Conference-Related Activities and Spending, and the Berkeley Lab guidance document, DOE Conference Reporting (as of June 4, 2013).

    D.3 Funding Sources

    1. Funding for Laboratory-hosted events may originate from both internal and external sources such as:
      1. DOE funds
      2. Work for Others
      3. Registration fees
      4. Exhibitor fees
      5. Co-sponsorship funds
    2. For funding sources not listed above, the event is not required to be entered into the Event Approval Database.
    3. All funds and revenue used to support events must be deposited into the appropriate Laboratory project(s) established by the Controller's Office.

    D.4 Registration Fees

    1. A registration fee may be charged to event attendees. Registration fees are set by the event chairperson. Laboratory employees are charged the same registration fee as other attendees. Registration fees may only be used for allowable expenses.
    2. The hosting division determines the appropriate registration fee. The registration fee should be set at an amount that generates sufficient revenue to cover the specified items to be financed through registration fees, but not an amount that would lead to excess revenue.
    3. The collection of registration fees is handled through an online registration tool managed by Conference Services. All registration fees collected are deposited into the allowable BZ project established for each event.
    4. Separate fees may be collected for optional unallowable activities (e.g., entertainment, excursions) and will be deposited into the unallowable BZ project.
    5. The hosting division may, at its discretion, waive or reduce registration fees for speakers, affiliates, students, or others.

    D.5 Exhibitor Fees

    An exhibitor participates in the event to display products and services that relate to the purpose of the event. Exhibitor fees collected can be used for allowable or unallowable expenses. The allocation of allowable or unallowable funds from exhibitor fees is determined by the division and is included in the event budget.

    D.6 Event Sponsorships

    Event sponsorships are voluntary contributions made by outside organizations (i.e., benefactors) to support an event. Funds received from sponsorships can be used for allowable or unallowable event costs. The allocation of allowable or unallowable funds from sponsorships is determined by the division and is included in the event budget.

    D.7 Approvals

    1. All events must be entered and approved in the Event Approval Database prior to the event.
    2. All events must be approved by both the division approver or designee and Conference Services.
    3. Financial commitments and costs are not to be incurred without the required approvals.
    4. Events entered in the Event Approval Database after the event date require a strong justification that must be included in Step 2 under Meeting Request Form in the database.

    D.8 Meals at Laboratory Events

    1. Meals provided while conducting Laboratory business will be supplied in a reasonable manner that minimizes costs and is consistent with the public perception of appropriateness wherever possible. Cost reasonableness must also be considered and applied as it relates to all Berkeley Lab events and meals (see D.1.3 above).
    2. Meals are reimbursable for Laboratory events conducted on- or off-site if all of the following criteria are met:
      1. The event is conducted for an allowable purpose that supports DOE’s mission. 
      2. The event is at least three hours in duration.
      3. At least 10% of the total event attendees must be external (non-Berkeley Lab employees). Students who are not on Berkeley Lab payroll are considered external attendees.
      4. The event is not routine (i.e., conducting regular business, such as staff meetings, monthly or quarterly reviews, new employee orientation, or employee training) and is not solely a ceremony or celebration.
      5. The event requires work to be conducted during food service without a break.
      6. An attendee list with affiliations and an agenda listing business topics discussed during food service are provided.
      7. Note: For off-site meals, an “actual” attendee list for each meal at a restaurant or other off-site venue must be attached to the Request for Issuance of Check (RFIC) form.
    3. For both on-site and off-site events, the maximum allowable reimbursement amount for meals must not exceed 150% of the locality’s M&IE rate for daily meals and 25% for daily refreshments. In addition, the number and cost of meals provided must be reasonable as they apply to the circumstances of the event’s professional activities and goals.
      1. The following table reflects the standard and maximum allowable meal limits per day for both on-site and off-site events. Allowable costs are applicable to that meal only and cannot be reallocated. The afternoon refreshment maximum is applicable to one refreshment service only. Rates include tax and gratuity. Delivery charges are not included in these limits and are reimbursable as a separate item.
      2. If the off-site location is not within the Oakland/Berkeley/Walnut Creek area, divisions are responsible for calculating 150% of the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) per diem rate as the maximum daily per meal cost for the event location and 25% of the GSA per diem rate for daily refreshments (see the GSA Web site).

    D.9 Off-site Events

    1. Meal costs for off-site events must not exceed 150% of the standard GSA rate for that location (see table above).
    2. Divisions are encouraged to conduct events on site whenever possible.
    3. For off-site events with 30 or more attendees, the off-site meeting request in the Event Approval Database must demonstrate that the decision to conduct the event off site was reasonable in cost and nature and adheres to Procurement guidelines.
      1. For off-site events with 30 or more attendees, a cost analysis comparing three venues must be included in the request. It is required that Conference Services oversee the venue comparisons and, ultimately, recommend the most appropriate site.
      2. Overall pricing (guest room, audio-visual services, etc.) and cost reasonableness are primary factors, but function space, proximity to transportation, audio-visual capabilities, and other factors are all considered part of the review process.
    4. If the event location has already been predetermined for one or more of the following reasons, the applicable meal cost limits referenced above still apply.
      1. Attendees are already present at the selected site, so co-locating is most cost effective (i.e., an adjunct meeting associated with an existing event).
      2. The selected venue is the only option in the area.
      3. Berkeley Lab is a co-host and the other host has already selected the venue.
    5. A detailed justification for the off-site location selected is required in the Events Database under “Location Justification.”

    D.10 Recruitment Meals

    1. Recruitment Meals Conducted in the Vicinity of a Berkeley Lab Facility. Recruitment meals for on-site or local interviews are limited to the interviewer and interviewee only. Meals for additional employees, affiliates, and/or visitors will not be reimbursed. The following conditions must be met:
      1. The open Laboratory position is for a senior-level employee, which is determined at the discretion of the division.
      2. Recruitment meal costs must be reasonable and cannot exceed the allowable limit, see Section D.8, Meals at Laboratory Events.
      3. The hiring division must complete a Recruitment Meal Reimbursement form and a Request for Issuance of Check (RFIC) form. Both forms are submitted to Accounts Payable for payment.
    2. Recruitment Meals While on Travel. Recruitment meals conducted while on travel are reimbursed through TREX.

    D.11 Meals for Laboratory Affiliates

    The practice of providing meals to Laboratory affiliates, visitors, or customers, where the primary purpose may appear to be social, is unallowable and not reimbursable.

    D.12 Community/Public Relations Events

    When conducting any type of community event where information is released to the public, the Laboratory Public Affairs Department must comply with Contract 31 guidelines (Clause I.64). This requires advance coordination with DOE Berkeley Site Office (BSO) when planning this type of event.

    D.13 Strategic Planning and Institutional Events

    1. The objective of a strategic planning meeting is to discuss goals and strategies that affect the department or division.
    2. Each division (or department reporting directly to the Director’s Office) is allowed four strategic planning meetings during the fiscal year. The 10% non-Laboratory attendee requirement is waived. Strategic planning meetings will otherwise comply with all Laboratory policies. Each division is responsible to track and monitor its annual four-meeting allotment.
    3. The 10% non-Laboratory attendee requirement will also be waived for institutional Laboratory-wide strategic planning meetings, nonroutine institutional training programs, and volunteer staffing for institutional events.

    D.14 Allowability

    1. Laboratory funds and registration fees can only be used for allowable costs (see DOE FAR 31.201-2, Determining Allowability).
    2. Unallowable event costs include:
      1. Alcohol
      2. Entertainment
      3. Promotional items
      4. Décor
      5. Non-working meals
    3. Private funds, event sponsorships, and exhibitor fees may be used for unallowable event costs, as long as the activity is conducted in a reasonable manner, minimizing the appearance of extravagance wherever possible.
    4. Alcoholic Beverages: Alcohol cannot be purchased with DOE funds. The purchase, use, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages on any premises owned or controlled by the Laboratory is prohibited (see Serving Alcohol at Berkeley Lab Events). 
    5. Contractual Agreements: All third-party contracts for hotels and meeting services must be signed by Conference Services, which is the only entity authorized to negotiate and sign contracts. Any third-party contract not approved by Conference Services may be considered an unauthorized procurement, subject to personal financial liability and administrative discipline. Conference Services should also be contacted to conduct site visits and assist with site selection.

    D.15 Gratuities

    Gratuities or service charges are allowable expenses, but may not exceed 25% of the total.

    D.16 Expenses Incurred for Logistics Staff Working During the Event

    1. Staff members working at an event are considered attendees and may be provided meals at the allowable rates as outlined in D.8.3. Working staff, however, should not be included in the calculation for the number/percent of non-Berkeley Lab attendees.
    2. Lodging, even for local staff, may be allowed at the host’s discretion if any of the following conditions are met:
      1. Staff member presence is required to manage work early in the morning or in the evening.
      2. Staff members serve in a key role and live a considerable distance away from the event, which would hinder their ability to arrive in a timely manner to perform their duties.

    D.17 Accounting

    1. Event Planning Support: If administrative event planning support is part of an employee’s normal job function, his or her time and effort should be charged to the division. However, if administrative planning support is outside of the employee’s normal job function, the event project should be charged.
    2. Revenue Accounting — BZ Projects
      1. To segregate event costs from other program costs, the requesting division must open a separate project for each event. This will serve as the parent project for the allowable BZ project and cannot be a summary or WFO project. Any programmatic costs associated with the event should be charged to this project for costs not covered by revenue collected in the BZ project.
      2. Segregating event costs provides several benefits by:
        1. Increasing event cost visibility/transparency
        2. Assisting with the closeout of surplus allowable BZ project revenue and costs and surplus non-DOE BZ revenue
    3. Payment of Event Expense
      1. Payment for event costs is made by using the following forms:
        1. Request for Issuance of Check (RFIC BZ) – For events where fees are charged
        2. Request for Issuance of Check (RFIC) – All other event costs
      2. Include itemized receipts or invoices (originals only).
    4. Travel/Honoraria Costs for Speakers and Invited Affiliates
      1. Travel costs for speakers and invited affiliates should be charged to the appropriate event project.
      2. Honoraria payments for speakers and invited affiliates must be processed in accordance with the Berkeley Lab Honoraria policy.
    5. Availability of Funds
      1. Invoices submitted for payment from the unallowable BZ project will NOT be paid if there are insufficient funds.
      2. Costs that exceed funds in the allowable BZ project will be re-allocated to the division event parent project at closeout.

    D.18 Surplus Event Revenue

    1. DOE Funds: Any surplus event revenue collected from DOE as a host, co-host, or sponsor is subject to the Miscellaneous Receipts Act (U.S. Code 3302) and must be deposited with the U.S. Treasury as soon as possible.
    2. Non-DOE Funds
      1. Any surplus event revenue collected from or provided by Berkeley Lab co-hosts or sponsors other than DOE or DOE contractors is not subject to the Miscellaneous Receipts Act and, therefore, does not need to be returned to the U.S. Treasury.
      2. It is expected that any surplus event funds are to be maintained at a minimum. The disposition of surplus event funds is the responsibility of the event chairperson. The following options apply to the disposition of event-related surplus funds:
        1. Allowable surplus funds can be used to offset costs that are clearly identifiable in the division event parent project.
        2. Unallowable surplus funds can be used to offset costs in the allowable BZ project and the division event parent project.
        3. Both allowable and unallowable event-related surplus funds can be:
          1. Returned to the sponsor
          2. Used for future occurrences of the same event
          3. Refunded to the attendees (if material)
          4. Retained in an institutional BZ project to use for events as necessary, e.g., to offset other event costs (if immaterial)

    D.19 Sustainable (Green) Events

    1. Berkeley Lab is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and minimizing its dependence on non-renewable energy. A sustainable or “green” event promotes the use of energy-efficient materials, conservation, waste reduction, and recycling.  
    2. Sustainable practices for Laboratory-hosted events are supported by Berkeley Lab in accordance with DOE Order 436.1, Departmental Sustainability, and DOE Order 450.1A, Environmental Protection Program. In addition, division organizers may qualify for a green meeting or conference award from Berkeley Lab’s Chief Sustainability Officer. For information on conducting sustainable events and/or qualifying for a green meeting award, see Berkeley Lab’s Web site on sustainability, sbl.lbl.gov.

    E. Roles and Responsibilities

    Role

    Responsibility

    Conference Services

    • Provides overall event management services
    • Reviews, approves, and manages all Laboratory event information entered into the Event Approval Database to ensure timeliness and compliance with Laboratory policy and DOE Contract 31
    • Reviews, negotiates, and approves third-party contractual agreements for event services such as hotel contracts, audio/visual services, chartered transportation services, etc.
    • Reconciles registration payments to ensure all applicable fees have been paid and all payment information is captured
    • Provides General Accounting with the registration payment list
    • Reviews invoices and receipts against BZ Projects to ensure allowable and unallowable costs are separated appropriately
    • Manages the event registration database
    • Reports event data to DOE as required

    Hosting Division

    • Has overall responsibility for the financial management of the event
    • Establishes a separate project for each event that serves as the parent project for the allowable BZ project which is not a summary or Work-for Others (WFO) project
    • Completes the applicable entries, forms and documents in the Laboratory's Event Approval Database, which includes funding and budget information, for approval by Conference Services
    • Develops and maintains the event budget and appropriate financial records
    • Identifies allocation of allowable and unallowable costs and income from exhibitors and/or sponsors in the event budget
    • Reviews and verifies event revenues and expenditures within 120 days after completion of the event
    • Provides a justification for each RFIC with total expenses exceeding the original estimate by more than $250.
    • Provides an explanation to be included with the RFIC for material changes to the original event attendee list for working meals.
    • Ensures that all allowable and unallowable expenses are tracked, separated, and identified on the final invoices and receipts prior to submitting to Conference Services for payment

    Division Approver (or designee)

    Approves all Laboratory-hosted or co-hosted events

    Laboratory Director (or designee)

    • Approves all Laboratory-wide Strategic Planning meetings
    • Note: The designee for the Laboratory Director is the Deputy Director, Associate Laboratory Director, or Laboratory Director's Chief of Staff.

    Controller's Office

    • Deposits registration fees and/or sponsorship funding and records revenue in the Laboratory's Financial Management System (FMS)
    • Upon approval from Conference Services:
      • Opens unallowable BZ project for the event
      • Sets up an allowable BZ project and requests it be opened by the Budget Office
      • Issues payment for event expenses approved by Conference Services
      • Closes and reconciles event project(s)
    • Provides general guidance on event accounting
    • Prepares final resource adjustments to zero out the BZ projects at closeout

    Budget Office

    Opens the allowable BZ project for the event

    F. Definitions/Acronyms

    Term

    Definition

    BZ Project

    Allowable and/or unallowable project established for each Laboratory-hosted/co-hosted event. The BZ project is used to collect registration fees and other external funds and to pay invoices for event costs. Overhead costs (i.e., burdens or taxes) within a BZ project are applied to travel, procurement, and event expenses.

    Co-host

    An organization that shares event hosting responsibilities with another (see Host). An event co-host exists if more than one organization shares control of the conduct or management of the event, or provides some form of non-monetary services.

    Co-sponsor

    An organization that shares voluntary contributions/support for the meeting (i.e., a benefactor)

    Event

    Any formal activity that involves the dissemination or exchange of trade, business, professional, or technical information with employees or peers

    Exhibitor

    An individual or organization that participates in the event to display or present products and services relative to the purpose of the event

    Host

    An organization that has control over the conduct or management of the event (e.g., sufficient to influence costs, venue, program content, or similar aspects)

    M&IEMeals and incidental expenses

    Sponsor

    An organization outside the Laboratory (i.e., a benefactor) that makes a voluntary contribution to support the event

    Work for Others (WFO)

    The performance of work for non-DOE entities by DOE/contractor personnel and/or the utilization of DOE facilities that are not directly funded by DOE appropriations

    G. Recordkeeping Requirements

    None

    H. Implementing Documents

    Document Number

    Title

    Type

    11.03.003.000

    Serving Alcohol at Berkeley Lab Events

    Policy

    11.03.002.002

    Recruitment Meal Reimbursement form

    Form

    11.01.019.005

    Request for Issuance of Check (RFIC) form

    Form

    11.01.019.000

    Request for Issuance of Check

    Policy

    11.06.001.000

    Travel Policy

    Policy

    11.02.002.003

    Updated Guidance on Conference-Related Activities and Spending

    Official DOE Guidance

    11.03.002.004Berkeley Lab DOE Conference Reporting (as of June 4, 2013)Guidance

    I. Contact Information

    Conference Services Manager or send an e-mail to ConferenceServices@lbl.gov

    J. Revision History

    Date

    Revision

    By whom

    Revision Description

    Section(s) affected

    Change Type

    1/2/2012

    1

    More

    Reformat for wiki

    All

    Minor

    6/22/2012

    1.1

    L.Young

    Align to revised Serving Alcohol at Berkeley Lab Events

    D.13.4, Implementing Docs

    Minor

    11/11/2012

    1.2

    Hennessey

    Annual review complete 9/30/12, no changes

    Pub & rev dates

    Minor

    12/14/2012

    1.3

    Hennessey

    Included changes reflecting recommended audit actions

    Added Gratuities, Staff Working section, updated Roles/Resp, D.7, D.9 & D.10

    Minor

    1/29/20131.4HennesseyAdded guidance. Staff working at events are not to be included in calculation for non-employee attendees.D.15Minor
    9/10/20131.5HennesseyAdded guidance re 150% per diem limit.Brief/Policy Summary, Policy/Purpose, D.1, D.2, D.6, D.8, D.9–D.11, D.14.4, D.16.1, D.19Minor

    DOCUMENT INFORMATION

    Title:

    Events, Planning and Financial

    Document number

    11.03.002.000

    Revision number

    1.5

    Publication date:

    9/10/2013

    Effective date:

    9/9/2011

    Next review date:

    9/30/2014

    Policy Area:

    Events, Planning and Financial

    RPM Section (home)

    Financial Management

    RPM Section (cross-reference)

    Section 11.02

    Functional Division

    OCFO

    Prior reference information (optional)

    Sections 11.01, 11.02, 11.10

    Source Requirements Documents

    DOE Acquisition Regulation Letter, No. AL 2012-15, Meal Costs in Management and Operating Contracts

    Implementing Documents

    Document Number

    Title

    Type

    11.03.003.000

    Serving Alcohol at Berkeley Lab Events

    Policy

    11.03.002.002

    Recruitment Meal Reimbursement form

    Form

    11.01.019.005

    Request for Issuance of Check (RFIC) form

    Form

    11.01.019.000

    Request for Issuance of Check

    Policy

    11.06.001.000

    Travel Policy

    Policy

    11.02.002.003

    Updated Guidance on Conference-Related Activities and Spending

    Official DOE Guidance

    11.03.002.004

    Berkeley Lab DOE Conference Reporting (as of June 4, 2013)

    Guidance

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