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Are you affected by the district’s ‘Code of Silence?’ Read this quick primer to find out

2014 October 23
by HISD Communications

Did you know that HISD has a policy in place specifically designed to ensure that the district’s competitive bidding process is fair and equitable to all potential vendors?

It’s called the “Code of Silence,” and its purpose is to outline the rules governing when particular district representatives may discuss the details of contracts being sought to provide HISD with various goods or services.

Below is a collection of Frequently Asked Questions, which the Procurement Services department has compiled to help employees understand the Code and how it works.

What is the HISD Code of Silence?

The Code of Silence is an HISD policy that governs who may discuss the details of a contractual award being sought through the competitive solicitation process. The policy establishes the time frame for which the competitive solicitation will remain under the Code of Silence and defines the penalties for those found in violation.

Why is the Code of Silence necessary?

The Code of Silence was created to ensure that those seeking to do business with the district are treated ethically, fairly, and in accordance with the law. Additionally, the Code of Silence seeks to eliminate any actual or perceived conflicts of interest.

Who does the Code of Silence affect?

The Code of Silence affects any person directly involved in the RFP, bidding, or other competitive solicitation process or those who may be perceived as having influence over the process.

Are there exceptions to the Code of Silence?

The Code of Silence does not apply to communications with the district’s general counsel, finance attorney, procurement project manager, general manager of procurement, or the chief financial officer. Additionally, only contracts that are being considered through the competitive solicitation process are affected by the Code of Silence.

When does the Code of Silence take effect?

The Code of Silence becomes effective when the competitive solicitation is made public.

What are the consequences for violation of the Code of Silence?

The Office of Internal Audit will investigate allegations of violations to the policy. A violation may result in a recommendation for an award to be made or for an award to be voided. Vendors or potential vendors found to be in violation may be barred from participation in any competitive solicitation for two or more years. District employees may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination.

To read a complete copy of the Code of Silence, please visit the Procurement website. Questions may be directed to 713-556-6516.

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