Getting into Gear on the Grant Reforms

August 16, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

stick-shift-1161348-mIt isn’t much, but at least we have some new information on the latest on the Office of Management and Budget’s proposed guidance to reform grants management and single audit oversight. I would doubt anyone has ever called OMB’s policymaking process speedy, so I find it somewhat ironic that OMB is using an automotive term to explain its current actions towards finalizing the proposal.

OMB issued the proposal, which would combine all the grants circulars into one “mega-circular,” in February and received about 310 comments as of the May 31 due date. Speaking this week to attendees at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants National Governmental Accounting and Auditing Update Conference in Washington, D.C., OMB’s Karen Lee said that OMB now is “working in overdrive with federal agencies to finalize the grants policies.” She added that those stakeholders who submitted comments provided “incredibly thoughtful feedback,” and now OMB is “going through each policy in detail to determine what the final outcome will be based on this feedback.”

Lee said that she hoped the final version could go to the OMB clearance process this fall. OMB and the Council on Financial Assistance Reform had planned to finalize the proposal by the end of the year. Past experience with OMB’s clearance has shown us that this process tends to drag on for some time, and with something as important and wide-sweeping as the grants reform proposal, the clearance process could be especially long.

Also, we’ve all been accustomed to the traditional circulars in grants management, such as Circular A-102, A-110, A-87, etc. The question was asked what the name of the new mega-circular would be. In typical OMB style, Lee was noncommittal.

“We have not yet named the child,” she said. ”We have been using as a placeholder the ‘Grants Reform Guidance.’ and while the acquisition community has the Federal Acquisition Regulations, we have the Grants Reform Guidance, and it ultimately will be codified in 2 C.F.R. as well.” I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned on this.

We will continue to follow OMB’s grants reform and will keep the subscribers to Thompson’s grants publications up-to-date on any new developments.

What is your expectation on the timeline for the grants reform proposal? 

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