Sneak Preview: Award Recipients Should Learn Performance Rules

October 17, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook). Potential recipients of federal awards don’t need to wait around for the revised federal agency regulations and processes that will be based on the uniform guidance and will guide their favorite programs. They can start preparing for them now by completely understanding the performance goal provisions included in the document.

Nonfederal entities will need to be prepared to devise top-notch performance goals under the new world order guided by the uniform guidance. For example, during the application phase, applicants must sell their steps to achieve the performance goals in the application in an easily arranged way that eases comparisons with actual accomplishments in reports, if awarded (§200.301).

A helpful initial step is to understand the guidance’s definition for performance goal (§200.76), which is: a target level of performance expressed as a tangible, measurable objective, against which actual achievement can be compared, including a goal expressed as a quantitative standard, value, or rate.

The inclusion of this definition in the grant guidance indicates how serious the federal government is about federal agencies setting performance goals, and applicants learning to relay them in applications and meet them in reporting. The guidance wants to see components with step-by-step explanations and anticipated evidence to meet the program goals in an application that will make comparisons to actual achievement easier to track for applicants and assess by federal officials.

The guidance provides just one detail in the pre-award section about the use of performance goals in applications in Appendix I. The appendix supplements §200.203, dictating what parts must be included in every solicitation. It enhances the section’s information by providing more in-depth details on the required full text of an application.

While the section doesn’t mention program goals, the appendix does address them stating that agencies aren’t required to include the program goal information in a particular place in applications. Federal agencies, under the appendix, can include the program goals in whatever section is most appropriate. It does offer three potential application categories for its inclusion: (1) opportunity description; (2) application content; or (3) reporting requirement.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site).

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