Welcome the “Uniform Guidance” in the New Year
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At the end of last year, the Obama Administration started to implement measures to significantly overhaul and strengthen Federal grant-making regulations. In December of 2014, after three years’ of policy effort led by the cross-agency Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR), OMB released the “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” (Uniform Guidance). The rules will take effect on awards made after Dec. Dec. 26, 2014.
In the past few years, E-ISG Asset Intelligence has been working with many recipients of Federal grants, including state and local agencies, charter schools, and nonprofit organizations, to address some of the requirements. We understand how complex these federal regulations are and the pain the grant recipients have in dealing with them.
So we truly appreciate the key changes the Uniform Guidance is making to improve the management of federal grants, $600 billion annually. Above all, we applaud the relief of administrative burdens for the recipients of these federal awards.
Most of these recipients are engaged in humanitarian efforts, research and development, helping families and children’s, and disaster recoveries. The Uniform Guidance will provide them the flexibility and resources to strengthen the administrative infrastructure, so they can be more effective in providing the services they are tasked to provide, and therefore more benefits to all of us as taxpayers.
The Uniform Guidance will reduce the administrative burdens for the grant recipients in these major areas:
- Streamlined multiple Federal Regulations into a single comprehensive policy guide. What this means is that, instead of dealing with separate regulations from different agencies, a grant recipient now only deals with one uniform policy.
- Allow universities to hire staff to do the administrative work that directly benefits grants so that scientists can focus on science.
- Allow nonprofits and other organizations that have never been reimbursed for indirect costs to use a standard minimum rate that supports the fundamental operations of the organization.
In order to truly improve the performance of federal grants, the grant recipients need to build the infrastructure to track the spend, measure the impact, and analyze the programs. The Uniform Guidance addressed this core need by providing the justification.