Saying Goodbye to 2014 and Hello to 2015

December 31, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

year-2009-1-1092555-mSo, did anything happen concerning grants this past year or was it just the same ‘ol, same ‘ol? Oh, of course, right, there was this trifling little thing called the uniform grant guidance. I think that rings a bell.

Boy, did it ever! What a year 2014 was in the grants community! With the Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Financial Assistance Reform releasing uniform guidance at the tail end of 2013, we all had one year to study the changes in the guidance compared to the old OMB circulars. Despite OMB’s claims that the guidance was “same, same, but different,” there are numerous sections in the guidance where the differences are quite pronounced. And with the new emphasis on performance and internal controls, the guidance brought forth a new era of managing grant programs.

This all came to a head on Dec. 19 through a joint interim final rule issued by OMB and 28 federal agencies and offices, incorporating the guidance into their regulations, effective Dec. 26, 2014. HOWEVER, just when you thought you had your bearings on the uniform guidance after reading it for the past year, OMB and COFAR included technical corrections in the interim final rule. Although many are relatively minor clarifications and corrections, some amendments add new language to certain provisions. Subscribers to Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert should check the site over the next few weeks to see stories on these technical corrections.

OMB didn’t just spend 2014 with its eye on the uniform guidance. This past year also brought us the DATA Act, and OMB and the Treasury Department will be working with federal agencies to help them implement the DATA Act. The uniform guidance and the DATA Act will have a tremendous effect on grants for years to come. It has been years, if not decades, since something so influential has affected grants.

So now we wonder what to expect for 2015? Somewhat soon, OMB will release its revised version of the uniform guidance with the technical corrections included. In May, OMB and Treasury must issue governmentwide data standards for federal agency spending, including federal awards. And maybe before then, OMB will release the 2015 Compliance Supplement, which could be somewhat massive as OMB attempts to provide guidance for auditors for programs under the old circulars and the uniform guidance.

From all of us at Thompson, have a Happy New Year and get ready for another year of grants excitement!

What grant-related memories from 2014 can you share? We’d like to hear from you.



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