Developing and Evaluating Performance Measures
The implementation of 2 CFR 200 has required Federal awarding agencies and pass-through entities to revise and revaluate processes for grants administration. Perhaps one of the most consequential changes under the Uniform Guidance is the change in focus for accountability of Federal awards from compliance to performance.
One of the goals of the Uniform Guidance is to “more effectively focus Federal resources on improving performance and outcomes while ensuring financial integrity of taxpayer dollars in partnership with non-Federal stakeholders.” As a result, Federal awarding agencies and non-Federal entities must not only ensure Federal awards adhere to financial and administrative requirements, but they must also evaluate the effectiveness of Federally-funded projects. To meet this requirement, grant programs and Federally-funded projects must develop and analyze performance measures.
Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the pilot course for the new Performance Measurement for Federal Grants Under 2 CFR 200 course. It is designed to assist Federal awarding agencies and non-Federal entities in developing performance measures, addressing requirements under 2 CFR 200, and evaluating project outcomes.
The participants were employees from Federal agencies, pass-through entities, and recipient organizations and brought diverse experiences and viewpoints working with performance measurement. The wide variety of backgrounds provided an exciting insight on how some Federal agencies are addressing the requirements under 2 CFR 200. Most interestingly was hearing about the increasing number of agencies requiring logic models for grant applications and how recipients are adapting their application processes.
A common situation among the participants was the difficulty their organizations faced in effectively developing and measuring outcomes for their projects. As a group, we were able to address these concerns. In one activity, we evaluated the performance of a grant recipient and developed proposals on how to address the recipient’s problems in meeting performance goals.
As the grants community enters the second year under 2 CFR 200, the expectations for grant projects to meet performance goals are increasing. Federal awarding agencies can expect Congress and Offices of Inspectors General to more carefully examine how grant programs are aligned with governmentwide goals. In turn, Federal awarding agencies will be holding recipients accountable in meeting project outcomes. Hopefully, this will result in improved performance for grant programs and increased benefits for the American taxpayer.