OMB Advises on Federal Recovery, Transparency Reporting
The Office of Management and Budget just gave federal agencies guidance on how to report both Recovery Act and Transparency Act data to USAspending.gov, the site created as a searchable, single database where the public can find detailed information about federal awards. Much of the new “operational guidelines” are technical in nature, dealing with issues such as required formatting and submission methods. However, OMB also explains one reporting question that arose under the Recovery Act: aggregate reporting for small awards.
The Recovery Act requires reporting on all funding, but allows for reporting of awards under $25,000 and awards to individuals as aggregates. According to OMB’s guidance, an aggregate record is created by taking a group of similar records and tallying the dollars based on a specific set of data fields to create one summary (or aggregate) record. Agencies should strive to submit as much information as possible under $25,000 at a transaction level, OMB says, but if reporting information under $25,000 poses a significant administrative burden on agencies, they can also report these amounts as county aggregates instead.
While aggregate reporting is only required for Recovery Act funds, and not under the Transparency Act, OMB advises agencies to begin including aggregate information for all funding types to provide maximum transparency to the public.
You can read the OMB memo to federal agencies by clicking here.