Posts Tagged ‘Grantseeking’
The Grants Policy Committee is preparing a response to a GAO report about the timeliness of grant application submission through Grants.gov, and they want help from the public.
The GPC’s Preaward Workgroup is drafting an OMB response to the July GAO Report, “Grants.gov Has Systemic Weaknesses That Require Attention.” This workgroup is specifically focusing on the GAO recommendation regarding the timeliness of applications. Some of the issues being addressed by the GPC workgroup include what constitutes a timely application, how to notify applicants regarding the timeliness of applications, and handling of late applications.
While this is not a formal request for comments from the workgroup, it is an outreach effort designed to gather input from the grants community and offer stakeholders the opportunity to have their concerns and ideas reflected in the official OMB response.
Input can be provided through the GPC website at www.GPC.gov.
Yesterday the House passed its version of a bill to reauthorize the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act, pushing OMB even more to create a one-stop web portal that would consolidate all grant application and management functions and standardize the process governmentwide.
The House version of S. 303 is similar to the Senate bill passed in March 2009. Both direct OMB to beef up Grants.gov so that it serves not only as a central location for grant applications, but also for grants management. The legislation continues the push for standardized reporting forms, and requires OMB to provide Congress with a list of those federal agencies that do not use the standard forms and the central management portal.
The House bill also would require the development of a single data standard for private sector entities to use to submit information to federal agencies, including grant applications and reports.
Because the Senate bill does not contain this language – and because of other differences – members of the House and Senate must now meet in conference to work out a comprise bill before the legislation can be sent to the White House.
We’ll keep you informed about this measure as it moves through Congress. Also, this and other grants-related developments will be covered in Management Concepts’ upcoming Federal Grants Update course. The annual course is offered around the country each spring and summer. Watch our website for details in the coming months.
It seems there are discussions about merging the Grants Policy Committee and the Grants Executive Board in an effort to coordinate the two aspects of the federal grants community.
As its name implies, the GPC is in charge of establishing policies to implement grants streamlining efforts. The GEB, on the other hand, has authority over the business side of the streamlining effort, including Grants.gov and the Grants Management Line of Business.
But soon the two boards may merge into one. Tom Cooley, chair of the GPC, said at a recent National Grants Partnership webinar that there are plans to merge the two so that policy people talk to program people, and they talk to IT people, etc.
Sounds like a good idea to me…
In an effort to improve the transparency of Recovery Act awards, the Obama Administration is restricting lobbying efforts by potential recipients, and making any lobbying activities that do occur visible to the public.
OMB has just issued a memo to federal agencies that updates the lobbying restrictions that were imposed on Recovery Act funds. In essence, after competitive grant applications have been submitted, there can be no oral communication between federal agency officials and anyone regarding that specific project, whether or not they are registered lobbyists. The prohibition applies after the submission of formal applications , and up through the award of competitive grants under the Recovery Act.
There are a few exceptions, however. For example, federal agency officials may asnwer questions that are technical in nature, and the communication is permissible if the federal employee initiates the contact.
But if communication does take place – including written communications – the federal employee must report it and a summary will be posted on a publicly available website.
To read the full OMB memo to agencies, click here.
While Grants.gov has made the grants process somewhat easier for both federal awarding agencies and potential applicants, the Government Accountability Office says the web portal has systemic problems that need to be addressed.
GAO’s report echoes many previous reports about Grants.gov. For federal agencies, the benefits of using Grants.gov include eliminating the need to develop agency-specific electronic systems and making their funding opportunities available to a wider audience. For grantees, the online search and apply portal reduces paperwork and offers access to a wider array of grant opportunities. And both benefit from faster application processing.
But a “cumbersome” registration process and “uneven” system performance often result in frustration for grantees and late applications. At the federal level, a lack of clear, written policy regarding who is responsible for what on Grants.gov, as well as the “pass-the-hat” voluntary method of funding the system often cause problems, GAO says.
In the report, GAO makes four recommendations, again, most of which may sound familiar to those in the grants world. They include for example, urging OMB to work with federal agencies to ensure that Grants.gov is properly funded, and establishing a stakeholder group to improve communications.
To read the full report, click here.
As the General Services Administration promised, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance website is now back – with a new look. Although much of the information that was posted on the previous site is still available, there are some new enhancements.
For example, at www.cfda.gov you can now find an entire section devoted to programs funded under the Recovery Act, as well as an enhanced search tool. You can also access links to resources such as a print version of the 2008 catalog, Grants.gov, an overview of the CFDA, and tips for writing grant proposals.
Looking for a quick, easy way to track funding opportunities from the National Institutes of Health? Try Twitter.
In mid-March NIH began using the social networking and blogging service to provide information about funding opportunities. Using Twitter, NIH will post links to Funding Opportunity Announcements in a condensed format, about the size of a typical text message. The Institute will “tweet” announcements once a week. (Twitter enables users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts that can be accessed via the Twitter website, RSS feeds, cell phone text message systems, and similar services.) NIH is also using Twitter to post general health news updates.
To learn more and to sign up for Twitter, visit the NIH Twitter page at http://twitter.com/NIHforFunding.