Panoptic Enterprises' FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH
DATE: June 23, 2003
SUBJECT: Office of Management and Budget; Announcements of Grants and Cooperative Agreements
SOURCE: Federal Register, June 23, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 120, pages 37369, 37379, and 37385
AGENCIES: Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
ACTION: Final Policy Directive, Notice, and Proposed Policy Directive
SYNOPSIS: OMB is taking two actions, and proposing a third, regarding the announcement of federal discretionary grant and cooperative agreement funding opportunities.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on the actions proposed by OMB to implement the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-107), see the August 12, 2002, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Office of Management and Budget; Grants Streamlining Activities Under the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-107)."
DATES: Comments on the proposed policy directive must be submitted by July 23, 2003.
ADDRESSES: Comments on the proposed policy directive may be mailed to Sandra Swab, Office of Federal Financial Management, Office of Management and Budget, Room 6025, New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20503; or faxed to 202-395-3952; or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For the final policy directive and the notice, contact Elizabeth C. Phillips, Office of Federal Financial Management, Office of Management and Budget, 202-395-3053, or by fax: 202-395-3952, or by e-mail: email@example.com.
For the proposed policy directive, contact Sandra Swab, Office of Federal Financial Management, Office of Management and Budget, 202-395-5642 (direct) or 202-395-3993 (main office), or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: The Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-107) was enacted to (1) improve the effectiveness and performance of federal grants programs, (2) simplify federal grant application and reporting requirements, (3) improve the delivery of services to the public, and (4) facilitate greater coordination among those responsible for delivering the services. Public Law 106-107 requires the director of OMB to direct, coordinate, and assist federal agencies in establishing a common application and reporting system, including electronic processes, and uniform administrative rules for federal grants programs across different federal agencies.
On August 12, 2002, OMB announced five proposed actions that relate to the streamlining efforts of the OMB staff and the interagency works groups dedicated to implementing Public Law 106-107, and requested comments. Two of the proposed actions pertained to the public announcements of grants and cooperative agreements. OMB received comments from 22 organizations on these two interrelated actions: two state governments; one local government; five universities; one association of academic institutions; a group of universities that participate with federal agencies in a demonstration program on research administration; a non-profit organization; two organizations representing non-profit entities; an association of auditors; and eight federal agencies. As a result of these comments, OMB is putting into effect the two public announcement actions with minor revisions. In addition, OMB is issuing a proposed directive to implement the public announcements policy.
- Policy Directive on Financial Assistance Program Announcements: OMB has established a standard format for federal agency announcements of funding opportunities under programs that award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements. The purpose of the standard format is to organize and present information in a consistent way in announcements of the hundreds of federal programs that make financial assistance awards. A governmentwide format will help potential applicants find the information they need about federal opportunities more easily and quickly.
The format consists of an overview, followed by the full text of the announcement, consisting of the following sections: I. Funding Opportunity Description; II. Award Information; III. Eligibility Information; IV. Application and Submission Information; V. Application Review Information; VI. Award Administration Information; VII. Agency Contact(s); and VIII. Other Information.
The most significant changes OMB made when finalizing the policy directive and format in response to the comments on the proposed policy directive are:
- Agencies are required to post funding opportunity announcements that are open to domestic applicants on http://Grants.gov or provide an Internet address that Grants.gov may use to link from the synopsis to the full announcement.
- OMB cites the following as additional examples of information that an agency might appropriately include in an overview in addition to the required elements: the total amount expected to be awarded; anticipated amounts and/or numbers of awards; cost sharing; types of funding instruments; limits on numbers of applications; criteria for beneficiaries' eligibility; and any special requirements on intellectual property, data sharing, or security requirements (for example, access to research information, materials, or facilities).
- The announcement format now recommends that agencies provide hyperlinks to cross-referenced sections.
- Program Announcements at http://Grants.gov FIND: OMB has established a governmentwide standard set of data elements for agencies to use to post, at http://Grants.gov, synopses of announcements of funding opportunities under programs that award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements. The data elements are designed to give potential applicants: (1) enough information about each funding opportunity to decide whether they are interested enough to look at the full announcement, which contains the detailed information they need to decide whether they wish to apply; and (2) a way to get the full announcement electronically (either directly at http://Grants.gov under "FIND" or through an electronic link to another Internet site).
Originally, the synopses were going to be posted at http://FedBizOpps.gov, which is the government's website for posting contract opportunities.
In response to comments on the proposed format for electronic program announcements, OMB has decided to require the following two additional data elements: (1) any ceiling setting a maximum amount for an individual award; and (2) any floor setting a minimum amount for an individual award. Also, OMB has decided add two optional data elements: (1) the estimated total program funding; and (2) the expected number of awards.
The following are the required (and "optional") data elements in electronic program announcements:
- Federal agency user identification
- Federal agency user password
- Announcement type
- Funding opportunity title
- Funding opportunity number (optional)
- Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number(s)
- Federal agency name (optional)
- Federal agency contact for electronic accesss problems
- E-mail address for federal agency contact for electronic access problems
- Telephone number for federal agency contact for electronic access problems
- Funding opportunity description
- Funding instrument types
- Category of funding activity
- Explanation of "other" category of funding activity
- Estimated total program funding (optional)
- Expected number of awards (optional)
- Ceiling, if any, on amount of individual award
- Floor, if any, on amount of individual award
- How to get full announcement
- Electronic link to full announcement
- Eligible applicants
- Additional information on eligibility
- Cost sharing or matching requirement
- Due date for applications
- Explanation of application due dates
- Date of Grants.gov FIND posting
- Date for Grants.gov FIND to archive
- Governmentwide Guidance for Use of Grants.gov FIND To Post Funding Opportunity Announcement Synopses: OMB has published a proposed policy directive that requires federal agencies to use http://Grants.gov to post synopses of funding opportunities under federal financial assistance programs that award discretionary grants and cooperative agreements. The proposed policy directive would require all agencies to begin posting announcement synopses at http://Grants.gov beginning October 1, 2003.
OMB would like to know: (1) is the proposed policy sufficient for getting agencies to post synopses of funding opportunities?; (2) are there any shortcomings in either the posting or retrieving of synopses from http://Grants.gov?; and (3) is there additional instruction that should appear in the policy directive?
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.
Copyright 2003 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.
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