Grant Policy in the News
DATA Act Implementation Phase Begins Roll-Out of New Data Standards for Reporting on Federal Spending
On May 8, 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) jointly announced the start of the next implementation phase of the DATA Act – the standardization of data elements.
"Currently, the Federal Government produces huge amounts of data about how it spends money, but in some cases the same words are used in different ways," wrote David Mader, Controller of the Office of Federal Financial Management at OMB, and David Lebryk, Fiscal Assistant Secretary at Treasury, on The White House blog. "These inconsistencies make it difficult to use this data in a comprehensive way."
The DATA Act, passed in 2014, requires Federal agencies to begin using a set of common data elements that are being developed over the next two years through collaboration with members of Congress, Federal agencies, industry stakeholders and the public.
Some data elements have been recently been finalized – terms like "outlay," "obligation," and "Awarding Agency Code." Others are still undergoing an approval process. These new standards are expected to help streamline the federal grant reporting process, among other things.
Meanwhile, both OMB and Treasury have published new resources for agencies, including guidance titled "Increasing Transparency of Federal Spending by Making Federal Spending Data Accessible, Searchable, and Reliable," and Treasury's "DATA Act Playbook," which contains best-practices designed to drive DATA Act implementation forward.
The joint OMB-Treasury announcement also discussed other DATA Act implementations that are designed to make the federal grant process more transparent.
For example, The White House blog post highlighted the creation of the Common Data Element Repository Library (C-DER Library) and the new Learn Grants section on Grants.gov.
For more background on the announcement, please explore the following resources:
Office of Management and Budget's ‘Uniform Guidance' Implemented Through Interim Final Rule
In December 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly called "Uniform Guidance"). This is an authoritative set of rules and requirements for Federal awards that synthesizes and supersedes guidance from earlier OMB circulars.
On December 18, 2014, the "Uniform Guidance" has been formally implemented through an interim final rule by the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR). This means that for 60 days, the public may comment on the new rule, which is effective for new awards made by the Federal Government on or after December 26, 2014.
- Read a summary of the "Uniform Guidance" on the Grants.gov policy summary section.
- Read the OMB announcement on WhiteHouse.gov.
- Comment on the new rule at Regulations.gov.
Check back regularly for summaries of recent grant-related policy news from around the Federal government.