Sneak Preview: House Panel Hears Concerns About Award Monitoring

March 2, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) Federal agencies providing grants and cooperative agreements to inter-American organizations are not fully documenting their monitoring activities, which could hinder the agencies’ efforts to ensure the funds accomplish their strategic goals, according to testimony from a Government Accountability Office (GAO) official speaking before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.

The United States belongs to several inter-American organizations that promote democracy, security, health care, agricultural development and scientific exchange in the Western Hemisphere. These organizations include the Organization of American States (OAS), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provide grants and cooperative agreements (called “voluntary contributions”) to these organizations.

GAO Director of International Affairs and Trade Thomas Melito told the House subcommittee that the four federal agencies provided about $105 million in voluntary contributions to OAS, PAHO and IICA for calendar years 2014 through 2016, adding that the recipient organizations have established mechanisms, such as using external auditors or creating internal audit boards, to better oversee their use of these funds.

Each of the four agencies has established their own guidance that requires the agencies to conduct monitoring activities, such as collecting financial reports on a quarterly basis or including specific information in performance reports, as part of their oversight of the assistance agreements. However, Melito testified that a December 2017 GAO report, which reviewed 12 assistance agreements with inter-American organizations, found that the Department of State and USDA did not include all of the monitoring provisions in their agreements as required under agency guidance. For example, the State Department did not include two monitoring provisions — a risk assessment and a monitoring plan — in one of its agreements. “U.S. agencies could have greater assurance that the organizations are using these funds as intended if they enhance their monitoring of their assistance agreements,” Melito said.

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

As a reminder, we have all of our Federal Funding Training Forums scheduled for 2018. Please let me know if you have questions or can make any of these. We hope to see you there!

  • Monday April 16 – Wednesday April 18 in WASHINGTON, D.C.

  • Wednesday May 1 – Friday May 4 in ST LOUIS

  • Wednesday July 25 – Friday July 27 in MINNEAPOLIS

  • Wednesday October 17 – Friday October 19 in ATLANTA


Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *