As federal agencies continue their move towards a more data-centric approach to grants management, areas like grantee risk assessment and performance evaluation are positioned to reap the early benefits of the ongoing data revolution in government.
On June 6, attendees at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Grants Management Conference in Shady Grove, MD were given glimpses of how data can be leveraged to help achieve mission objectives more effectively and efficiently.
At HHS, improving efficiency by even a single percentage point can mean billions of dollars saved, said Michael Peckham, who heads up the Reinvent Grants Management initiative at HHS.
In fiscal year 2018, for example, about 67% of all federal grants came from HHS, totaling about $509 billion. Peckham, citing a study by the Federal Demonstration Partnership, said that an estimated 44% of awarded grant funds are spent on grantor and grantee overhead.
“Imagine creating efficiencies and reducing administrative burden by 1% annually” and utilizing those funds for mission objectives, he said.
In fact, a range of data-related reforms are already being rolled out and tested within HHS. These efforts are laying the foundation for the more efficient and effective use of federal grant funds in the coming years.
Continue reading HHS Conference Affords Glimpse Into ‘Reinvention’ of Federal Grants Management
On November 15, the Results-Oriented Accountability for Grants Cross Agency Priority Goal Team began collecting feedback on the Federal Grants Management Draft Data Standards via a dedicated website.
In developing the data standards and soliciting public input, the Federal Government aims to “… contribute to a future state where grants data are inter-operable, [where] there are fewer internal and public-facing grants management systems, and [where] Federal awarding agencies and recipients leverage data to successfully implement a risk-based, data-driven approach to managing Federal grants.”
The Team notes on https://grantsfeedback.cfo.gov that “these data standards are a pre-decisional draft and should not be interpreted as setting policy or official guidance.”
Continue reading Public Feedback on Federal Grants Management Draft Data Standards Open Until January 15
A memorandum released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on September 5, 2018, outlined a range of steps that the Federal Government is taking to reduce grant recipient reporting burden. You can read the memo in full here.
Below, we highlight a few of the key takeaways relevant to the federal grants community:
Continue reading Federal Grants Policy: 5 Highlights from OMB Memo M-18-24
While telling a story about a vacation to Venice, Italy, Gil Tran, Senior Policy Analyst for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), described Venice as a beautiful and unique city where, “you’re always going to get lost when you’re in it.” Despite its layout, he said, “When you get lost, that’s when you discover all the gems.”
According to Tran, this is how grant professionals ought to dive into and enjoy the OMB Uniform Guidance (or the “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” for those who prefer its full name). Immerse yourselves and get lost, only to discover the wonderful “nuggets” of regulations governing your federal award experience.
While many of you may have a less enchanted, more pragmatic approach to grant administration, you nonetheless need to know the latest about the Uniform Guidance.
Continue reading Gil Tran on What Is Coming Up for the OMB Uniform Guidance in 2018
The 2017 fiscal year has been an important one for federal government grants. Milestones include the completion of a Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) pilot program and the release of the OMB M-17-26 Reducing Burden for Federal Agencies by Rescinding and Modifying OMB Memorandum.
For seasoned grant professionals, you have probably heard about the DATA Act and are familiar with memos from OMB that provide new guidance on how to better manage and implement grants.
Continue reading What’s New with Grant Policies? DATA Act & OMB Memos
Many federal agencies conduct similar types of work, such as awarding federal grants. While the mission and specific goals of each grant program vary, many of the processes for posting, applying for, managing, and reporting on federal grants are the same. This is where federal shared services come in. Rather than each agency developing & maintaining the same services, the costs and benefits are shared. In this role, Grants.gov serves its purpose—to be a shared service for both the public and federal agencies.
Continue reading Shared Services in Federal Government & Grants.gov
The U.S. federal government is in the midst of an effort to fix inconsistencies in the terminology used across federal financial assistance application forms. The home for the newly “harmonized” terms is the Common Data Element Repository Library, or CDER Library.
Over the years, synonymous data elements on federal grant forms have sometimes been used interchangeably. For example, forms from different systems and applications have listed “address” as “Street 1”, as “Address Line 1” or as “Street Address Line 1”.
Continue reading ‘Harmonizing’ U.S. Federal Grant Terminology
In Part 1 of this series, we explained the content development process for new and updated Grants.gov forms. In Part 2, we focus on Grants.gov’s role in the technical development of forms.
The development time of each form can range from one month for a cosmetic change to up to six months for a new, multi-page form. The following provides a high-level overview of the forms development cycle:
Continue reading How the Government Prepares Grant Application Forms – Part 2
A critical part of registering as an applicant organization with Grants.gov involves entering a DUNS number – or obtaining one before proceeding.
A DUNS number is a unique nine-character number that Grants.gov and other programs use to identify your organization. For example, the federal government uses the DUNS number to track how federal money is allocated. Applicants doing business with the federal government can get one for free through Dun and Bradstreet (D&B).
In 2018, the D&B contract with the federal government’s General Services Administration (GSA) expires, and the GSA has released a Request for Information (RFI) for government-wide entity identification and validation services.
Continue reading Share Your Feedback on the General Services Administration’s RFI for ‘Government-Wide Entity Identification and Validation Services’
With a name like Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly called “Uniform Guidance”), you’re unlikely to mistake this government publication for a comic book or romance novel. But, unless you’re a federal grants expert, you may have some difficulty pinning down the Uniform Guidance’s main goal.
In plain English, the Uniform Guidance is simply a set of authoritative rules and regulations about federal grants from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This “guidance” is designed to keep everyone in the federal grants community – Congress, grant-making agencies, and applicants – on the same page.
Continue reading What Is the OMB’s ‘Uniform Guidance’ for Grants?