Updates Provided on the Latest Efforts under CAP Goal #8

Jerry Ashworth
January 2, 2020 at 08:16:11 ET
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Happy New Year everyone! We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are gearing up for a busy and fruitful 2020. For our first blog post of the new decade, it seems fitting that we present an update on the President’s Management Agenda and its cross-agency priority (CAP) goal #8, entitled “Results-Oriented Accountability for Grants.”

In recent weeks, the federal CAP Goal #8 executive steering committee provided an update on the latest efforts under this priority. For those new the President’s Management Agenda, CAP Goal #8 aims to maximize the value of grant funding by applying a risk-based, data-driven framework that balances compliance requirements with demonstrating successful results for the American taxpayer. To address this, the steering committee seeks to: (1) standardize the grants management business process and identify, open, standardize and link data; (2) use standard business processes and data to identify opportunities to build shared solutions that reduce burden and improve the user experience; (3) leverage data, including data produced by annual audits, to assess and manage recipient risk; and (4) hold recipients accountable for good performance practices that support achievement of program goals and objectives, and streamline burdensome compliance requirements for those that demonstrate results.

The committee recently presented some of the key milestones that it achieved under the CAP goal from September 2019 to December 2019. First, it published Version 1.0 of Grants Management Standard Data Elements. The finalized version of the standard data elements includes more than 400 common grants management terms and definitions, both pre-award and post-award. Although these data elements were officially released, Office of Management and Budget officials have said that the current version still will require further refinement over time prior to full implementation. Generally, the data elements are not specifically focused for recipients, but are intended to improve the interoperability and quality of required federal grants management reporting data, and support the modernization of federal grants information technology solutions.

During the recent three-month period, the steering committee also boasted that it has conducted two Grants Innovation Exchange Sessions with more than 400 participants, and it has continued to expand the Grants Community of Practice with the addition of more than 100 new members.

Information on the President’s Management Agenda and its various CAP goals is maintained on the federal website, Performance.gov. A recent update to the site notes that several CAP Goals now have interactive data dashboards to show progress made on their key performance indicators. These dashboards were created in an effort to report progress in a way that can be easily tracked by the public. In addition, Performance.gov also has launched a key partners page to list the programs and communities it uses to "engage agency leaders, grow talent and support agencies’ efforts to deliver a smarter, leaner and more effective government."

For CAP Goal #8, the steering committee explained that key performance indicators will be developed to monitor progress towards standardizing data, leveraging digital tools and streamlining requirements to reduce recipient and agency burden, and improve risk-based performance management. These indicators include: (1) the number of agency OMB-approved information collection requests for grants reporting; (2) the number of recipient burden hours attributed to agency information collection requests; and (3) the use of self-assessment data, such as percentage of federal agency and recipient time dedicated to administrative and financial compliance requirements as compared to analyzing data to monitor results. More on the CAP Goal #8 executive steering committee and its efforts can be found here.

Join us for our following Federal Grants Forums:
Federal Grants Forum: Charleston, SC | February 5 – 7, 2020
Federal Grants Forum: Portland, OR | May 13 – 15, 2020
Federal Grants Forum: Chicago, IL | August 12 – 14, 2020
Federal Grants Forum: Denver, CO | October 7 – 9, 2020

Learn more at http://grants.thompson.com/conferences.aspx.