OMB has ordered a series of steps designed to reduce administrative burdens on both the providers and the recipients of the roughly $700 billion the government spends annually on grants to other levels of government, universities, nonprofits and others.
Memo M-18-24 carries out a provision of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, that required OMB to conduct a pilot program to identify common data standards, build new reporting tools and reduce administrative burdens both for the awardees and the government. The memo reflects lessons learned from that pilot and also aligns them with the President’s Management Agenda’s cross-agency priority goal of achieving results-oriented accountability for grants.
The meo requires that agencies: review data standards when they are published to ensure completeness and accuracy, and distinguish among types of grants and recipients; align grant-related reform initiatives to the modernization vision outlined in the PMA, and fully participate in applicable CAP working groups; use government-wide data standards to modify existing or grant systems or to design new ones; work with other agencies and OMB to reduce the number of legacy systems; and assess grant-making policies and processes to identify opportunities to reduce burdens.
Also, each agency must determine if it is collecting the same data from a recipient in multiple ways and eliminate duplication.
OMB said it will make available by year’s end a readiness assessment tool “to evaluate agency system baselines against the core grants management data standards and maturity expectations. The tool will support agencies in identifying the systems, resources, and policies associated with grants management. Results from the assessments will support analysis of an agency’s readiness and maturity to adopt federal-wide standard business processes and data.”