VA RCE101- Responsible Conference Executive (RCE) Training

Welcome to the Responsible Conference Executive Resource page! Here you will find many different resources you can use both during this course and when you are selected to serve as RCE for a VA event.

Why do we need to report the cost of a VA event?

The Federal Government has a responsibility to act as a careful steward oftaxpayer dollars, ensuring that Federal funds are used for purposes that are appropriate, cost effective, and important to the core mission of executive departments and agencies (agencies). The Conference Certifying Official (CCO) and RCE must ensure the proper approvals for each conference are received, costs are recorded, and total expenditures do not exceed the approved Conference Package amount. As part of the effort to safeguard Federal funds, agencies should focus on expenses related sponsored or hosted by non-Federal entities. Federal agencies and employees must exercise discretion and judgment in ensuring that conference expensess are appropriate, necessary, and managed in a manner that minimizes expense to taxpayers. On September 21,2011, OMB issued Memorandum 11-35, "Eliminating Excess Conference Spending and Promoting Efficiency in Government." That memorandum instructed all agencies "to conduct a thorough review ofthe policies and controls associated with conference-related activities and expenses." In accordance with that memorandum, Deputy Secretaries (or their equivalents) thoroughly reviewed the policies and controls associated with conference-related activities and expenses to mitigate the risk of inappropriate spending. To expand upon these efforts, this memorandum outlines a series of new policies and practices for conference sponsorship, hosting, and attendance to ensure that Federal funds are used appropriately on these activities, and that agencies continue to reduce spending on conferences where practicable:

In addition, for any instances where the net expenses for an agency-sponsored conference exceeded $500,000, the website shall include the agency head's waiver that identified the exceptional circumstances that necessitated exceeding this threshold. Finally, the website shall include information about the net conference expenses for the fiscal year incurred by that agency as well as a general report about conference activities throughout the year. In reporting these data, agencies shall exclude any information that is considered to be sensitive, is prohibited from public disclosure by statute or regulation, or may jeopardize national security or the health, safety or security of conference attendees, organizers, or other individuals.

Helpful Links

  1. Course Grading Rubric


  3. VA Form 10089b

  4. VA Form 10089a

  5. VA Financial Policy Volumex-iv Chapter- 10

  6. (has various Ethics and RCE trainings available to take)

  7. VHA TRAIN (trainings for Non-VA people)

  8. Post Conference Reporting Process Slides


  1. Approving Official- The individual(s) authorized to approve a conference package based on the estimated cost of the conference.

  2. Conference- A meeting, retreat, seminar, symposium, or event involving travel for attendees. The term “conference” also applies to training activities that are considered to be conferences under 5 CFR §410.404. If a clear-cut determination cannot be made an event is not a conference, then it must be processed under this policy as a conference. Legal counsel should be consulted for assistance in determining whether an event is a conference if there are questions. (Note: attendee travel refers to VA funded local and TDY travel)

  3. Conference Package (CP)- A term used to identify the required documentation for approval and reporting of VA sponsored and co-sponsored conferences (electronic or hard copy).

  4. Conference Expenses- All conference costs paid by the Government, whether paid directly by agencies or reimbursed by agencies to travelers or others associated with the conference, not including funds paid under Federal grants to grantees. Conference expenses include any associated authorized travel and per diem expenses, hire of rooms for official business, audiovisual and other equipment usage, light refreshments, registration fees, ground transportation, and other expenses as defined by the FTR. All outlays for conference preparation and planning should be included, but not the Federal employee time involved in conference preparation. See 41 CFR Sec. 301-74.2. Conference expenses should not include any fees or revenue received by the agency through the conference and should not include costs to ensure the safety of Government officials who are attending.

  5. Employee- An appointed officer or employee of an agency, including a special Government employee. This definition also includes an individual employed intermittently in the Government service as an expert or consultant and paid on a daily (when-actually-employed) basis, and an individual serving without pay or at a $1 a year.

  6. Executive Champion (EC)- An individual assigned by an Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary, or Other Key Official responsible for overseeing the attendance and attendance approvals for assigned Federal non-VA sponsored conferences.

  7. Federal facility- Property or building space owned, leased, or substantially controlled by the Federal Government or the government of the District of Columbia.

  8. Non-Federal facility- 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).

  9. Per Diem- The Lodgings-Plus method, a subsistence allowance for lodging, meals, and related incidental expenses incurred while on authorized TDY. Under the per diem method, VA will reimburse the daily cost incurred by a traveler for lodging up to a maximum daily rate, and a fixed allowance for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE). Travelers are required to exclude any meal provided by the Government. Per diem rates for the TDY location are established by the General Services Administration (GSA).

  10. Reportable Conference- Any VA sponsored or VA co-sponsored conference, meeting, or other similar forum, which either costs $20,000 or more, or costs less than $20,000 and there are 50 or more attendees including one (1) or more VA employees.

  11. Responsible Conference Executive (RCE)- An individual assigned by an Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary, or Other Key Official responsible for planning, obtaining required level of approval, oversight, and reporting of assigned VA-sponsored or co-sponsored conferences.

  12. Retreat- A town hall type meeting for government employees to review progress and challenges in implementing Government or Departmental policies, engaging their staff in discussing various aspects of said Government or Departmental activities. Retreats are often held off site or away from the normal duty station or office. Such a facility usually offers participants a greater opportunity to socialize than they otherwise would in the office, and to personalize relationships and gain greater appreciation of each other.

  13. Seminar- A lecture or presentation delivered to an audience on a particular topic or set of topics that are educational in nature. It is usually held for groups of 10-50 individuals. A seminar is frequently held at a hotel meeting space or in an office conference room.

  14. Symposium- A meeting of a number of experts in a particular field at which papers are presented by specialists on particular subjects, and discussed for the purpose of making recommendations concerning the problems under discussion.

  15. Training- An activity leading to skilled behavior. Training also refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills, and information that relates to specific useful competencies.

  16. Traveler- An individual authorized to perform official Government travel, in accordance with the FTR.

  17. Traveler List- A complete list of all VA-funded travelers, including local attendees incurring travel costs, attending a conference, including their full name, VA email address, and travel authorization or local expense voucher number (if applicable).

  18. Unique Site- The only location meeting the conference criteria that could not otherwise be met at another location

  19. Workshop- A series of educational and work sessions. Small groups of people meet together over a short period of time to concentrate on a defined area of concern. Purposes for workshops may vary (e.g., informing, problem solving, and training). Typically, a workshop has two components: technical, in which one presents theory in lectures and readings; and practical, in which one would do a project, produce a product, or write a paper.

This website assists in describing the policies, roles and responsibilities, and major requirements for Administration and Staff Office implementation of conference planning, execution, reporting, and oversight within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as set forth in Directive 0632, Conference Planning, Execution, Reporting, and Oversight.

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