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How Will the GREAT Act Affect Your Grant Reporting?

by Merril Oliver on February 20, 2020
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The Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act, is a new law signed on Dec 30, 2019, that transforms federal grant reporting by directing federal agencies to modernize and improve grantee reporting. Federal agencies have three years to update their data collection systems used to manage critical information about grantee performance and reporting for recipients of over $700B in annual finance assistance. The GREAT Act focuses on improvements in technology to make the grant reporting process more equitable, efficient, and accessible.

Key Improvements the GREAT Act Will Help Drive:

  • Modernize reporting by recipients of Federal grants and cooperative agreements by creating and imposing data standards for the information that grants and cooperative agreement recipients must report to the Federal Government
  • Implement the recommendation of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), including the development of a “comprehensive taxonomy of standard definitions for core data elements required for managing Federal financial assistance awards.”
  • Reduce burden and compliance costs of recipients of Federal grants and cooperative agreements by enabling technology solutions, existing or yet to be developed, by both the public and private sectors
  • Better manage data recipients already provide to the Federal Government; and
  • Strengthen oversight and management of Federal grants and cooperative agreements by agencies through consolidated collection and display of and access to open data that has been standardized, and where appropriate, transparency to the public.

Grant recipients will no longer be burdened by long, tedious hours of redundant paperwork ­– freeing them up to give priority to the needs of their communities. I’m so proud to have worked alongside Congressman Gomez to make government more accountable and transparent for the American people.” - Congresswoman Virginia Ann Foxx, co-sponsor of the GREAT Act.

 

OMB Requirements: 

This bill requires the OMB to work with the executive department that issues the most federal grant awards to:

  • Establish government-wide data standards for the information reported by the grant recipient
  • Issue guidance directing federal agencies to apply those standards
  • Require the publication of recipient-reported data collected from all agencies on a single public website
  • Designate a single data standard-setting agency by December 30, 2021; and
  • Develop a set of unique identifiers for Federal awards and grant recipients applied across the government.

What You Should Know:

If you are a grant recipient, what you report will likely not change that much, but how you report will change in ways you might not have expected. 

For example, changing the way you report can be expensive. Administrative costs and increasing or implementing, automation, and applying new technologies may be eligible for recovery in your Cost Allocation Plans.

Being proactive is key. Here are some steps you can take to start your road to success:  

  • Establish a core team responsible for the implementation
  • Engage in developing the data standards
  • Conduct an audit of your data and processes

It is also important to note that information collected by the federal government from grantees is required to be fully searchable and machine-readable, non-proprietary, and incorporate any standards already created under the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act of 2014.

Want to learn more about what the GREAT Act means for your agency?

Contact eCivis experts today to learn how you can take advantage of the benefits of this new law while ensuring your team understands all compliance requirements. We can provide guidance and technical support to help you today.

 

Resource Links:

The Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act

Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act 

Data Coalition Organization

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Topics: Grant Articles & News

3 min read time