Sneak Preview: 2 C.F.R. 180 Addresses Administrative Agreements

October 4, 2015 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has amended the governmentwide debarment and suspension (nonprocurement) guidelines contained in 2 C.F.R. Part 180 by adding three new questions addressing administrative agreements proposed in lieu of a suspension or debarment action. The amendment resulted from a recent final guidance implementing Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 110-417).

In a July 22 Federal Register notice of final guidance, OMB extended Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter Act from federal contracts to include federal grants and cooperative agreements. Primarily, the Section 872 guidance requires federal agencies to take extensive measures to review both applicants and recipients based on integrity and prior performance in an OMB-designated integrity and performance system. At this time, the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) is the current designated system, which is a standalone web portal; however, the Section 872 final guidance indicates that FAPIIS is migrating to the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) and the extended use of FAPIIS, or an integrity and performance system like FAPIIS, will apply to contracts, grants and cooperative agreements as of Jan. 1, 2016.

The Section 872 guidance adds provisions, and amends several others, within the OMB’s uniform grant guidance (2 C.F.R. Part 200). The requirements from the Section 872 final guidance were immediately incorporated into the language of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) as of July 30, but are applicable Jan. 1, 2016. Along with the changes to the uniform guidance, the Section 872 guidance also necessitated new language in 2 C.F.R. Part 180 discussing administrative agreements reached in a settlement with a nonfederal entity to resolve a suspension or debarment proceeding.

Administrative agreements are an option used for awarded contracts under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to resolve potential debarment and suspension actions; therefore, this amendment makes them more applicable to grants and cooperative agreements. According to the Department of Commerce Suspension and Debarment Handbook, an administrative agreement is an agreement between a federal agency and an entity entered into at any time during a suspension and/or debarment proceeding, and may include acceptance of responsibility by the entity, voluntary exclusion, mitigating plans, training requirements, and other required actions of, limitations on, or representations made by the entity. Factors that may be considered when determining whether an administrative agreement is appropriate include the entity’s otherwise satisfactory performance; response to the wrongdoing; and willingness to cooperate, make restitution, and implement or strengthen and existing ethics program.

(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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