Posts Tagged ‘Streamlining’
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what is working and what is not, and where appropriate, to streamline or eliminate ineffective, overly burdensome, and outdated rules.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 Which rules are outdated?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.
Looking for some advice on how to design a collaborative network? The IBM Center for The Business of Government just published a new report that highlights the successes and challenges of users who have implemented cross-agency collaborative networks.
In the introduction to the report, the authors say: Government agencies face increasing internal and external pressure to share information and to communicate across agency boundaries. Multiple-organization collaborative initiatives are far more complex and difficult than technology-based projects developed for use by a single agency. Collaboration requires a shared technology infrastructure that knits together legacy information systems of each partnering organization. Even more challenging is the need to design new approaches to organizing, funding, governing, sharing data, security, and operations.
The recommendations in the report are fairly straightforward. For example, they recommend involving all stakeholders. But they also go on to give pointers about how to do that.
You can access the report here.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is undertaking a federal acquisition streamlining effort that while targeted to contracting, will nevertheless have an impact on the grants community.
On May 29 GSA plans to move the functions currently hosted by the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) into a new System for Award Management (SAM). SAM will consolidate nine acquisition databases that track pre- and post-award contract data across the entire federal civilian and Department of Defense acquisition communities. Included in this list of systems are several used by grantees and grantor agencies, such as CCR, EPLS, the FFATA (Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act) Reporting System (FSRS), and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).
The intent of SAM is to take each of these systems and their myriad databases – which now have separate login functions (with the exception of CFDA), overlapping data, and various host locations – and move them into one system. Users will have one login, one source for data, and one central host (reducing maintenance and operation costs for the federal government). SAM is not merely a portal into existing systems. It is an integration of current capabilities, information, and functionalities.
The transition to SAM will be done in phases. Phase 1 – which includes EPLS and the CCR (along with other contract-related databases) — is set to go live May 29. According to the CCR website, the CCR site will go down May 23 and from that point on, its functions will be done through SAM. For entities that currently are registered in CCR, this will really not impact them at this moment. However, any entity that is registering for the first time and those that must re-register will now have to go through SAM.
Phase 2, scheduled for deployment from December 2012 through June 2013, will include the FSRS and CFDA. (GSA, through SAM, is planning to assume responsibility for the development and maintenance of the catalog.)
This “Advanced Notice of Proposed Guidance” briefly outlines the reform ideas OMB is considering, which could reshape the entire landscape of federal grants management.
OMB is targeting all aspects of grants management: audit, cost principles, and uniform administrative requirements. At this point, OMB is simply asking for feedback on these rather broad ideas. Using that feedback, it will then develop a detailed proposal that will be published in the Federal Register for further comment.
But now is the time to let your voice be heard. You have 30 days to comment on the ideas. To read the OMB announcement and to find out how to comment, click on the link below or watch the Tuesday Federal Register.
The Office of Management and Budget is working on a draft “omnibus circular” that would consolidate and revise the current uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit circulars.
While details are sketchy, the new circular could represent a significant change for grants management. For example, OMB may raise the single audit threshold, consolidate the current cost principles into one set, and set standards for merit-based reviews of grant applications.
OMB officials say a Federal Register notice inviting comments on the proposal will be published before the end of February. You will have 60 days to comment, and then OMB will review all of the input before issuing a second notice. If all goes according to OMB’s schedule, the new circular could be in effect by early fall. However, for those of us in the grants management community, we know this is an ambitious goal. Nonetheless, I wanted to give everyone a heads-up about the coming notice so you can be prepared to submit comments.
Keep watching this blog for more information. In addition, our annual Federal Grants Update seminar will cover this proposal in detail once it is published.
The Office of Management and Budget has just created a new Council on Financial Assistance Reform to ”foster more efficient and effective federal financial management.”
The council will work with the Government Accountability and Transparency Board and federal agencies to:
- coordinate the development and implementation of a standardized business process, data standards, and IT
- work with key stakeholders to eliminate unnecessary regulatory, reporting, and grant agreement requirements and increase flexibilities for satisfying grant requirements;
- identify emerging issues in grants management and policy; and
- serve as a clearinghouse of information on innovations and best practices in grants management.
The council replaces the Grants Policy Committee which was established in 1999 and the Grants Executive Board which was established 2004.
I’ll keep you posted on any new developments and council actions as they occur.
Congress has just approved major changes to the Government Performance and Results Act, pushing for not only better performance from federal agencies and programs, but also better reporting and more transparency.
The measure calls for federal agencies to identify their top priorities, publicly report program results, and identify ineffective and duplicative federal programs.
Each federal agency would designate a Chief Operating Officer and a Performance Improvement Officer with primary responsibility for pursuing cost-savings through the improved analysis and coordination of duplicative programs. These officials would also look at how to better coordinate administrative functions common to every agency, such as purchasing. However, the bill gives no specific direction to agencies on how to conduct any of these assessments.
Agency and governmentwide information relating to performance is to be posted to a new public website on a quarterly basis.
President Obama is expected to sign the legislation, the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010.
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.
President Obama’s themes of tying performance to funding, and tightening the discretionary budget belt will carry forward into fiscal year 2012 and beyond. In June 2010, OMB issued budget guidance to federal agencies that are now working to develop their FY 12 budget requests for submission to OMB. The guidance, which came in the form of two memos, directs agencies to “identify the programs and subprograms that have the lowest impact on your agency’s mission and constitute at least five percent of your agency’s [FY 10] discretionary budget.”
In Memo M-10-19, OMB noted that agencies should not simply reduce spending across the board. Instead, agencies should aim to restructure their operations strategically. This should include eliminating low-priority programs and activities, re-engineering staffing plans, improving procurement and grants management processes, and strengthening IT and financial management.
A follow-up memo, M-10-20, gave more insight into how these reductions are to be achieved. Agencies are to evaluate programs based on their impact on the agency’s mission and relevant administration initiatives. Agencies should consider whether the program has an unclear or duplicative purpose, uncertain federal role, a completed mission, or lack of demonstrated effectiveness, according to the June guidance. The intent is to identify those programs with the lowest impact. OMB emphasized that agencies were not to meet the five-percent low-priority program target with across-the-board reductions or incremental savings in administrative costs.
You can view both of the memos on OMB’s website. Also, remember that these and other recent developments in grants administration will be covered in our Federal Grants Update 2010 seminar which is currently running in locations around the country.
 OMB Memo 10-19, Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Guidance, 8 June 2010.
Now is your last chance (probably) to comment on the proposed governmentwide standard Tangible Personal Property Report Form (SF-428).
Yesterday (March 25), the General Services Administration issued a Federal Registernotice inviting comments on the form and announcing that it is sending it for final information collection review before making the form available for governmentwide use. This form is a result of the government’s ongoing streamlining effort which includes issuing standard grants management reporting forms for all agencies to use.
GSA originally published the form in 2008, and received a handful of comments on it. In response, the agency made a few small changes – it clarified the instructions and numbered the attachments.
Comments are due April 26.
To view the announcement, click here.