Posts Tagged ‘reporting’
The following was just posted on the OMB blog. Since it is rather succinct and complete, I thought it best to just copy and paste it. So here is what OMB is doing…
How can we continue to streamline, simplify, and improve rules and regulations? Which rules should be eliminated, streamlined, or made more effective? How can we reduce reporting and paperwork burdens? What are the best ways to cut regulatory costs? We’re looking for your ideas.
In January 2011, the President directed all executive agencies to undertake an unprecedented government-wide review of regulations on the books, in order to figure out what is working and what is not, and where appropriate, to streamline or eliminate ineffective, overly burdensome, and outdated rules. Over two dozen agencies responded with regulatory reform plans, listing more than 800 initiatives. We are already seeing big results. Just a small fraction of those initiatives, already finalized or formally proposed to the public, will save more than $10 billion over the next five years. Far more savings are expected as the plans are implemented and improved.
This May, the President made regulatory reform a continuing responsibility of all executive agencies and departments. All agencies must engage with the public to obtain suggestions about which regulations should be reassessed, modified, improved, streamlined, or eliminated. All agencies must give priority to reforms that would produce significant quantifiable savings or big reductions in paperwork and reporting burdens. And all agencies must report regularly to the public on their progress.
The next reports are due fairly soon – this fall. To improve our review, and to make it as ambitious as possible, we are announcing, today, an opportunity for members of the public to offer their ideas. Which rules are outdated? Which ones are imposing unjustified costs? Which ones can be improved or made more effective? Submit your ideas at WhiteHouse.gov/Advise. They will be given careful consideration.
Earlier this year there was a flurry of activity and far-ranging discussion surrounding a new DATA Act, legislation that would impose strict new reporting requirements on federal agencies and grant recipients.
But what happened to that proposed measure?
Apparently, it has died in the Senate.
During a Sunday morning talk show, Rep. Darrell Issa, the bill’s primary sponsor in the House, was discussing the Republican agenda when he said “we want to be jobs and the economy,” Issa said. “The Data Act passed unanimously out of the House, and it’s died in the Senate. That would bring greater transparency and accountability and save money. We have those issues we’re working on.”
If the measure does see any action in the Senate, we’ll let you know.
This month the National Institutes of Health will begin pilot testing the new governmentwide Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).
Seven institutions will pilot the RPPR for NIH beginning in April 2012. During the initial pilot the RPPR will be used only for progress reports under awards that do not require submission of an annual detailed budget (i.e., awarded under the Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process or SNAP) and for individual fellowships. NIH anticipates expanding the pilot in the summer of 2012 to include all Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) institutions.
Grantees will complete the RPPR electronically through the eRA Commons. Although the information that grantees will provide is not significantly different from what is currently reported, the format of the RPPR will be new to NIH grantees. The RPPR will consist of a series of 8 screens where grantees will answer questions using a checkbox, by entering text or uploading a PDF, or selecting “Nothing to Report.”
The timing of full implementation of the NIH RPPR will be determined based upon the success of the initial pilot.
For additional information, visit the NIH RPPR web site.
I picked up some very interesting information about the DATA Act at last week’s NGP webcast.
According to Cornelia Chebinou (NGP co-chair and the director of NASACT’s Washington, DC office) The legislation that will eventually be debated on the full House floor will be significantly different than the measure that came out of the House committee. The House is using a “manager’s amendment” to make significant changes to the bill. There were few details on what the changes would be, but one thing that was mentioned was the fact that the bill will no longer repeal FFATA.
Also, bill sponsor Rep. Darrell Issa asked Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor to bring it to House floor as soon as possible once the amendment is done. The Senate has said it won’t act on the bill until it sees what comes out of the House.
So we might have a case of wait, wait, wait, and then some very swift action.
Just as a reminder, the DATA Act in its current form would require all recipients of grants, loans and contracts (with some exceptions for small-dollar recipients), as well as federal agencies to provide transaction information about those awards at least quarterly. A new Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Board would set the standards for the data and would compile, analyze and publish the information.
The Office of Management and Budget has approved a new Real Property Status Report Form, providing grantees with a governmentwide form for reporting on real property status or seeking disposition instructions.
The General Services Administration published the form (SF-429) as interim final last September, but OMB returned it to GSA in December 2010 for further revisions. OMB has now approved the revisions.
The report has a cover sheet and three attachments: A. General Reporting; B. Request to Acquire, Improve or Furnish; and C. Disposition or Encumbrance Request.
On the new form, GSA:
Here is a link to the new form and instructions.
It seems it is not a matter of whether, but when, the federal government will impose new reporting requirements on recipients of federal financial assistance. On the same day, President Obama issued a new executive order on the matter while a key member of Congress introduced legislation that could have a drastic impact on grants management.
Both the executive order and the legislation have the ultimate goals of increasing transparency (read increasing reporting) and reducing waste. And both are based largely on the lessons learned through the Recovery Act. So the impetus for the changes in transparency, accountability, and reporting is strong. The only questions that remain are how to reach those goals.
Obama’s initiative, which is being spearheaded by Vice President Biden, creates a new Government Accountability and Transparency Board to “provide strategic direction for enhancing the transparency of federal spending and advance efforts to detect and remediate fraud, waste, and abuse.”
Obama’s order goes to say that the board will “apply the approaches developed by the [Recovery Act Board] across government spending.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act. His legislation would also create a permanent governmentwide accountability board, and would go further.
The DATA Act would require the new accountability board to establish common identifiers and consistent reporting standards for all federally collected data. It would also require all recipients of federal grants, contracts, and loans to report on their receipt and use of federal funds at least quarterly. Compliance would be a condition of receiving funds. And agencies could impose penalties of up to $250,000 on those that don’t report. (Does this mean OMB would need to amend the administrative requirements in Circular A-102 and 2 CFR 215?)
Finally, the legislation would repeal the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act.
President Obama recently issued a memo to federal agencies that, in my opinion, could have a significant impact on grants management practices and policies.
In the memo, entitled Administrative Flexibility , Obama focused on two areas: coordination and collaboration efforts lead by OMB, and agency streamlining.
Two of the directives to OMB could be especially significant for entities involved in grants management. Obama directs the office to “review and where appropriate revise guidance concerning cost principles, burden minimizations, and audits for state, local, and tribal governments” in order to eliminate unnecessary, unduly burdensome, duplicative, or low-priority recordkeeping requirements.
OMB is also directed to work with agencies that administer overlapping programs and collaborate with state, local, and tribal governments to standardize, streamline, and reduce reporting and planning requirements.
Agencies’ efforts must focus on identifying regulatory and administrative requirements that can be streamlined, reduced, or eliminated, and specifying where and how increased flexibility could be provided to produce the same or better program outcomes at lower cost.
There are no timeframes established in the memo, so we don’t know when agencies or OMB will undertake these efforts.
But I think it will be interesting to see the final results.
What do you think?
It’s nearly two years late, but information about subawards under federal grants is now available on the USAspending.gov website.
In early December, the site began posting subaward information associated with new prime grant awards over $25,000, as required by the Transparency Act. According to OMB, so far data on 930 subawards in areas such as health, food and nutrition, and transportation has been displayed. OMB expects that number to grow very quickly as new information becomes available and new subawards are made.
I looked around on the site and tried several searches. The information you can get is pretty extensive and it is really easy to use – in my opinion. Anyone else looked at the site or have any thoughts about it?
Federal agencies now have a new standard report they may use to collect information about the status of real property funded with federal assistance awards. On September 16, the General Services Administration (on behalf of the Grants Policy Committee) released the new Real Property Status Report.
The as-yet-unnumbered standard form has four parts – a cover page and three attachments. Attachment A is for General Reporting, Attachment B is a Request to Acquire, Improve or Furnish property, and Attachment C is a Disposition Request.
The final form is different from the draft released last November and was changed in response to comments from the federal agencies and the grantee community.
To view the Federal Register notice, the comments and responses on the draft, and the form itself, click here.
Today the Office of Management and Budget issued regulations requiring federal agencies to include new award terms in their grants and cooperative agreements.
First, agencies must now include language requiring applicants to have DUNS numbers and to maintain current registration in the CCR. The term will be included in awards for grants and cooperative agreements effective Oct. 1 2010, while the deadline for other assistance recipients – such as those receiving loans, subsidies, insurance, food, and “direct appropriations” – is Oct. 1, 2011. The actual award term is included in the appendix to the regulation.
The new DUNS/CCR regulation is located in 2 CFR Part 25.
OMB also published an interim final regulation regarding the new award term for the Transparency Act subaward reporting requirement. This new term is located in 2 CFR Part 170 (Note: this location is different than the one originally proposed by OMB in 2008: Part 33. Under the revised Title 2 structure, Part 33 is now preaward, so the new Transparency Act term will be located in Part 170, which is the national policy section.)
OMB notes that this new CFR part provides standard wording for an award term (also included as an appendix) that each agency must include in grant and cooperative agreement awards it makes on or after Oct. 1, 2010. There is a distinction between this and the operational details on what and how to report. That format and information proposal was issued as an information collection request by the General Services Administration on July 23. This current regulation is simply the award term that notifies recipients of their responsibilities for reporting information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation.
The Transparency Act’s definition of ‘‘federal award’’ includes multiple types of financial assistance awards, but only subawards under grants and cooperative agreements need to be reported at this time. Subawards under all types of financial assistance will need to be reported at a later date, which OMB will explain in future memoranda, according to the notice.
You can view the OMB notices here.