The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Final Guidance on Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
The guidance supports the Administration’s movement toward uniformed requirements to mitigate waste, fraud and abuse of government awards and funding.
It combines eight existing OMB circulars into one. This effort to streamline grant guidance comes with a focus on reducing administrative burden and increasing government transparency.
Here is what you need to know.
1. Compliance and Performance
Adjusted rules and regulations set new standard requirements for financial management of federal awards. Such regulations put greater weight on performance over compliance requirements. However, do not confuse this for a disregard of compliance standards. OMB will continue to seek compliant applicants but “…will waive certain compliance requirements and approve new strategies…”
The objective here is to refocus time and energy spent on being compliant and allocate resources toward programmatic success and objective goals.
2. Leveraging Information Technology
The Final Guidance also makes a case for integrated automated reporting, information technology systems and shared services within grant management processes. This push stems from the Executive Order to make open and machine-readable data the default for government information gathering and collection.
The standardization of data collection and documentation through technology platforms will decrease administrative burden, increase communication between partnering agencies and grantors, and allow for an effective and efficient process.
3. Increased Competition for Awards
The ability to win grant funding is already very competitive due to a recovering economy coupled with the growing need for grants. A strengthened oversight provision in OMB’s Final Guidance will continue the trend in this direction.
New provisions require granting agencies to review associated risk of prospective recipients prior to granting awards. A previous track record of non-compliance has heavy weight in an unfavorable direction when fighting to win such competitive grants; however, the provision shows favor for applicants with “strong remedies to address non-compliance.”
OMB describes the sought proposal for a non-compliance remedy as a clear plan to implement tools to manage and “efficiently closeout federal awards.”
4. Targeting Risk of Waste, Fraud and Abuse
The main focus of this provision is accountability. Responsible parties will be charged with overseeing and implementing metrics and audit follow-ups. Identification and mitigation of waste, fraud and abuse comes from stricter compliance guidelines and in-depth reporting requirements.
OMB has made single audit reports available online so that taxpayers can see where their money is going. This furthers efforts toward transparency and accountability.
Additional provisions call for actions to demystify jargon, improve allocation methods and standardize processes. Read up on other ways grant reporting is changing in The Changing Landscape of Grant Reporting whitepaper.
Are you in favor of the new provisions?
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