OMB’s Final Grants Reform Guidance Could Be Near — If…

December 3, 2013 | By admin | Post a Comment

calendrio-750005-mNot that I often get a chance to see many Broadway shows, but there currently is a somewhat popular musical on stage these days called “If/Then,” which wonders aloud “what if” life could be different and follows diverging paths based on the female lead’s choices and fate. This sounds like an appropriate title after hearing the latest from the Office of Management and Budget on when the proposed federal grants reform guidance would go final.

Gil Tran, senior policy analyst with the Office of Management and Budget, last month told attendees at the Grant Professionals Association conference in Baltimore, Md., that OMB still is aiming to finalize it by the end of the year. However, here’s where that “if/then” thing comes into play.

“If you don’t see it by Christmas,” Tran offered, “go ahead and take your vacation.” Participants were quick to ask if there was a fallback date. “Then it won’t come out until February,” Tran elaborated, “as we did with the proposal.”

The proposal is an expansive grant reform effort that will combine eight individual OMB grant circulars into one “megacircular.” It is the biggest reform to grants since 1984 when the Single Audit Act redefined the federal audit process.  After this announcement, we contacted Tran for more clarification. Again, more “if/then.”

“If we have the final out in December,” and Tran stressed the conditional, “then there would be an effective date for the fiscal year starting on or after Jan. 1, 2014.” Federal agencies would need to begin work immediately to apply the guidance to their agency grant procedures. “We are asking the agencies to submit their plans for implementation by June 30, 2014. If we miss the December time frame, then we have to recalibrate the dates.” Needless to say, we’ll be staying on top of this over the next few weeks.

Tran also emphasized that when it does go final, OMB would host webinars to help train the grants community. Look to Thompson for our own webinars to help you get up to speed when it does go final.

Do you think OMB will have the guidance ready by the end of the year? How are you preparing for it? Let us know.

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