Sneak Preview: Grantee Input Critical for GREAT Act Developments

Jerry Ashworth
March 20, 2020 at 10:56:48 ET
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(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) As the federal government aims to meet the deadlines and requirements established under the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act (Pub. L. 116-103), an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official recently said that the agency intends to provide a means to gather input from the recipient community as it refines the data standards used for grant reporting.

“We want to continue to engage and figure out how to implement the requirements together,” Rhea Hubbard, senior policy analyst at OMB, explained during a webinar hosted by the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) to discuss both the GREAT Act and recent proposed changes to the uniform grant guidance.

The GREAT Act aims to address grant reporting concerns identified under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-101), which established governmentwide data standards for financial reporting and required the OMB and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a pilot program to identify methods to alleviate reporting burdens for grant recipients.

Specifically, the GREAT Act requires OMB and HHS to create a comprehensive and standardized data structure to cover all data elements reported by recipients of federal grants and cooperative agreements. The new law also compliments other efforts on the federal level, such as the recent President’s Management Agenda, to encourage the development of uniform data standards to improve federal business processes.

Further, Pub. L. 116-103: (1) implements a recommendation under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) (31 U.S.C. §6101) related to the development of a “comprehensive taxonomy of standard definitions for core data elements required for managing federal financial assistance awards”; (2) reduces burden and compliance costs of federal awardees by enabling technology solutions to better manage the data that recipients already provide the federal government; and (3) strengthens agency oversight and management of federal grants and cooperative agreements by consolidating the collection and display of and access to open, standardized data, thereby increasing public transparency.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time here.)

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