Sneak Preview: Budget Cuts Force OJP To Adopt Remote Monitoring

July 3, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) In these days of shrinking resources for traditional oversight tasks, federal agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to visit recipients to conduct onsite monitoring. As an alternative, the Office of Justice Programs within the Department of Justice has developed a remote monitoring approach that enables its officers to review grantee documentation without leaving their desks.

Lara Allen, program analyst with the OJP’s Office of Audit, Assessment and Management, told attendees recently at the National Grants Management’s annual training conference that for 30 years prior to 2011, OJP had followed its standard business model for onsite monitoring of grant programs. However, budget constraints in 2011 froze most OJP travel budgets, including travel for onsite monitoring, even though the agency still is required by statute to monitor 10 percent of its active award dollars. “Of course, we want to get out there and see how our grantees are working through their programs because nothing compares to being on site,” Allen said. “OJP has met this challenge by devising a new business strategy. We’re really doing the same type of monitoring, but now from our desks.”

Using the “enhanced programmatic desk review” remote monitoring approach, OJP grants managers can assess the integrity and accountability of their grantees from their offices by collecting programmatic and financial documentation to substantiate their findings. “When we do onsite monitoring, we’re usually there a couple of days, so we had to determine how to do that remotely,” Allen said. “The biggest piece of not being on site is the ability to really collect the documentation that you would be going there to review.”


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