Sneak Preview: GAO Encourages COFAR, OMB To Involve Stakeholders

March 6, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) As the Office of Management and Budget works with federal agencies to help them implement regulations based on its new grants reform guidance, also known in the grants community as the “omnicircular,” the Government Accountability Office will be observing how well OMB and the Council on Financial Assistance Reform keep stakeholders involved in the process.

Stakeholder involvement “is one of the most important things you can have, whether you are designing systems or implementing regulations,” Stan Czerwinski, director of strategic issues at GAO, told attendees at a recent meeting of the National Grants Management Association. “One of the most important things you want to do is find out from the people who are involved what it means to them. That’s something we watch very closely, and it shows up not just in the reforms, but in other areas too.”

OMB and COFAR sought to encourage public comment throughout the phases leading to the reform, which was issued on Dec. 26, 2013. It accepted more than 300 comments to an advance notice of grant reform in February 2012, and collected another 300-plus comments to a notice of proposed guidance issued in February 2013. They also were receptive to meet with a coalition of key grants stakeholders before issuing the final guidance.

OMB and COFAR now encourage stakeholder input in developing metrics to help score the grant reform effort. They want to use such metrics to determine grantees’ level of administrative burden and accountability prior to the implementation of the reforms compared later when the reforms are fully implemented. Such input is critical, Czerwinski added, as OMB lacks enough personnel to fully develop these metrics. Immediately after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law in 2009, “there was a lot of stakeholder involvement, and OMB has told us they would like to continue to do that,” Czerwinski said. “But frankly, they are not resourced to do that. They are doing the best they can do, but they need more and they’ll need that [stakeholder] input.”


Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *