Timing the Revised Guidance With the C.F.R. Updates

Jerry Ashworth
September 1, 2020 at 14:04:33 ET
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In our most recent video in our GrantViews Video Corner section, we discussed the effective date of the revisions to the uniform guidance, as stated in the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Aug. 13 final guidance announcement. We aimed to make sure that recipients knew whether to follow the provisions in the current guidance (if you receive your award up to Nov. 11, 2020) or to follow provisions in the revised guidance (if you receive new awards or modifications to existing awards on or after Nov. 12). Not to mention, two provisions – one pertaining to grant terminations and another pertaining to prohibitions on certain telecommunications and other video surveillance services and equipment – went into effect immediately on Aug. 13.

However, one thing we didn’t address was a key reason why OMB wanted to get the final revisions out by the end of the year, which was discussed by Bob Lloyd in a recent webinar on the revised guidance hosted by Thompson Grants and Federal Fund Management Advisor. The regulations for grants and agreements can be found in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), thus the uniform guidance is listed at 2 C.F.R. Part 200. Lloyd explained that the way the C.F.R. is managed is that each volume of the C.F.R. is updated in sequence that follows the calendar year. Therefore, titles 1-12 in the C.F.R. are amended with any new developments from the previous year during the first quarter of the new year. Case in point, when the original uniform guidance became effective for award recipients, as implemented by federal agencies in their respective sections in Title 2, on Dec. 26, 2014, the changes could be implemented as of Jan. 1, 2015. With the revised guidance becoming effective on Nov. 12, 2020, Title 2 of the C.F.R. can again be effectively updated on Jan. 1, 2021.

The question now on many minds is when will the guidance be reviewed again. Although the provisions at §200.109 was not amended stating that the uniform guidance will be reviewed at least every five years as of Dec. 26, 2013, OMB did not address many comments suggested by stakeholders during the comment period of the proposed version of the revised guidance earlier this year. OMB limited its changes only to subjects addressed in its proposal, as other topics of concern were deemed “out of scope” and not considered. This has frustrated numerous grant recipients and associations, so we could see calls for more changes to the uniform guidance going forward at a more frequent pace. Time will tell.

Stakeholders who missed Lloyd’s webinar can purchase it on demand, and Thompson Grants is now planning to offer an all-day virtual training course on the revised guidance, as well a Town Hall event in late October. Stay tuned for more information on those training opportunities. We also will be speaking about the effective date during a Sept. 11 special webinar hosted by the National Grants Management Association. So much to learn these day; make sure you are keeping up-to-date with these changes.

Join us for our following Federal Grants Forums:
Nonprofit Finance & Grants Summit | September 14-16, 2020
Federal Grants Forum: Denver, CO | October 7-9, 2020