Treasury and OMB Roll Out New Data Standards

5535613157 499f6d4863 zThe DATA Act was passed just over a year ago to make government officials and grant recipients more accountable for taxpayer money.

On May 8, 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Treasury Department announced 57 data elements that will serve as implementation requirements for agencies, along with a DATA Act Playbook to ease the transition.

This post provides an overview of the new standards and playbook, and how they can help agencies start their implementation processes.

The Data Standards

The 57 data elements were released to create a standard for financial reporting that would allow spend data to be aggregated, analyzed and published online. Agencies will have two years to adopt them. Elements are broken down into six lists.

  • Awardee and Recipient Entity Information
  • Award Amount Information
  • Award Characteristic Information
  • Funding Entity Information
  • Awarding Entity Information
  • Account Level Information

Although these initial standards have developed a path for agencies to begin their open data journeys, elements are not set in stone just yet. They will continue to be developed based on public input through a GitHub portal, and agencies are encouraged to leave feedback during the open discussion periods.

In addition to the new standards, the OMB and Treasury also released the DATA Act Schema to provide data element relationship rules and a common taxonomy for the exchange of information.

Though new standards may seem overwhelming at first, the outcomes will be extremely beneficial. Capturing information as data will help agencies roll up their reporting—making ongoing processes easier, while increasing transparency and accountability.

The Playbook

To help agencies onboard properly, the OMB and Treasury Department released the DATA Act Playbook. This playbook provides agencies with eight recommendations to ease the transition:

  • Organize your team. Appoint a Senior Accountability Officer (SAO) to develop a DATA Act group within your organization.
  • Review elements. Understand the DATA Act elements, and offer feedback on standardization definitions.
  • Inventory data. Evaluate current information, processes and systems.
  • Design and strategize. Develop new processes to gather financial, financial assistance and procurement information.
  • Execute broker. Create a broker system to virtually format data with the DATA Act Schema.
  • Test broker implementation. Assure outputs are accurate, producing reliable information. 
  • Update systems. Integrate additional systems necessary to complete the process of standards implementation.
  • Submit data. Test the above requirements, and refine processes as needed until you reach the strategies that work best for your agency.

In addition to public input, industry leaders will gather at the second annual DATA Act Summit on June 10 to discuss further processes for data standard development.

Want to learn how you can prepare your grant management software for implementation? Download our free guide, “Public Sector: Grant Software Vendor Requirements.”

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How is your organization preparing for open data regulations? Share with us in the comments below. 

Image Source: Phil Roeder