Reflections on NGMA’s 2015 Training Conference

April 28, 2015 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

Cherry Blossoms Capital BuildingAbout 600 attendees packed the Crystal City Marriott last week to attend the National Grants Management Association’s 2015 Annual Training Meeting in Crystal City, Va. on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. The attendance has risen steadily since 2012, and NGMA hopes for an even larger turnout when it hosts the conference at the same site next year.

We here at Thompson attended all three days of the conference and will be writing several stories on the sessions to help our subscribers stay abreast with developments under the Office of Management and Budget’s uniform grant guidance and providing some tips and advice that readers can use to improve grants administration at their own organizations.

Hudson Hollister of the Data Transparency Coalition kicked off the conference with an update on the Digital Transparency and Accountability Act (DATA Act), letting attendees know what the DATA Act requires and about the progress of an upcoming HHS pilot to evaluate data elements. This general session was followed by numerous concurrent sessions that touched on various aspects of grants management.

Among the sessions we attended, subscribers can expect to see upcoming stories on performance reporting, program income, avoiding procurement fraud, reducing risks in working with subrecipients and avoiding pre-award risks. We also covered the two “Ask a Grants Lawyer” sessions and will provide a synopsis of some of the questions asked and the responding answers.

One of the key things that struck me was that many attendees are still confused – almost five months into 2015 — about which rules they should follow for their grant program – the old rules under the former OMB circulars or the new rules under the uniform grant guidance. The new rules apply for new awards made on or after Dec. 26, 2014, and for incremental funding on previously made awards that changed the award terms and conditions. Many grantees still seemed to be unclear about this distinction so we will aim to continue to clarify this in our articles.

There also seems to be a significant amount of confusion in determining the difference between grants and contracts, and agreements by other names such as hybrid award, partnership or memorandum of understanding. We aim to provide some clarity on that as well.

Subscribers should pay close attention to our upcoming newsletters and the Grants Compliance Expert site for stories from the conference. As the old saying goes, they will be filled with news they can use.

Did you attend the NGMA conference? If so, let us know what you learned.


Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *