US Comptroller General - Grant Accountability Paper - 2005

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October 2005 Guide to Opportunities for Improving Grant Accountability Compiled by members of the Grant Accountability Project A collection of Federal, State, and local audit organizations tasked by the Comptroller General of the United States’ Domestic Working Group to offer suggestions for improving grant accountability Guide Development Development This project was initiated by the Domestic Working Group chaired by the Comptroller General of the United States. This group consists of 19 Fe
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  October 2005 Guide to Opportunities forImproving Grant Accountability  Compiled by members of the Grant Accountability ProjectCompiled by members of the Grant Accountability ProjectCompiled by members of the Grant Accountability ProjectCompiled by members of the Grant Accountability ProjectCompiled by members of the Grant Accountability Project  A collection of Federal, State, and local audit organizationstasked by the Comptroller General of the United States’ Domestic Working Groupto offer suggestions for improving grant accountability   Guide Development  Guide DevelopmentGuide DevelopmentGuide DevelopmentGuide Development This project was initiated by the Domestic Working Group chaired by the Comptroller General of theUnited States. This group consists of 19 Federal, State, and local audit organizations. The purpose of thegroup is to identify current and emerging challenges of mutual interest and explore opportunities forgreater collaboration within the intergovernmental audit community.The group identified as a mutual concern the issue of grant accountability, and requested the InspectorGeneral of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lead a project to address this concern. TheFederal, State, and local project members are listed below. Federal InspectorFederal InspectorFederal InspectorFederal InspectorFederal InspectorAgency for International DevelopmentGeneral OfficesGeneral OfficesGeneral OfficesGeneral OfficesGeneral OfficesDepartment of AgricultureDepartment of CommerceDepartment of EducationDepartment of Energy Department of Health and Human ServicesDepartment of Homeland Security Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of JusticeDepartment of LaborDepartment of StateDepartment of TransportationEnvironmental Protection Agency National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNational Archives and Records AdministrationNational Endowment for the HumanitiesNational Science FoundationOther Federal Agency Other Federal Agency Other Federal Agency Other Federal Agency Other Federal AgencyGovernment Accountability OfficeState AgenciesState AgenciesState AgenciesState AgenciesState AgenciesNew York State, Office of State Comptroller Arizona Auditor GeneralKansas Legislative Division of Post AuditTexas State Auditor’s OfficeLocal AgenciesLocal AgenciesLocal AgenciesLocal AgenciesLocal AgenciesCity of Orlando, FloridaNashville and Davidson Counties, Tennessee  PPPPPreface  refacerefacerefacereface It is with great pleasure that I present this Guide to Opportunities for Improving Grant  Accountability . My sincere thanks to David M. Walker, the Comptroller General of theUnited States and chairman of the Domestic Working Group, for providing a forum foraudit organizations to look at ways to improve grant accountability. It is estimated that theFederal Government will spend approximately $450 billion in grants in 2006, so it isimportant to ensure that these funds are properly used and the desired results achieved.This document is targeted to government executives at the Federal, State, and local levelsfor two reasons. First, grants are an increasing percentage of agency budgets and play akey role in agencies achieving their goals. Second, managers set the tone for theirorganizations; as managers recognize the importance of accountability for how funds areused and the results achieved, that emphasis will flow to others within their organizations.My thanks to those who participated in this project, provided suggestions for promisingpractices, and commented on the draft. Your interest in this subject and willingness todiscuss the issues and areas for improvement are what made this document possible.Your continued commitment to ensuring that grant funds are used efficiently andeffectively is what will lead to lasting improvements.Nikki L. TinsleyInspector GeneralU.S. Environmental Protection Agency i  Executive SummarExecutive SummarExecutive SummarExecutive SummarExecutive Summar y    y  y  y  y  Guide to Opportunities for ImprovingGuide to Opportunities for ImprovingGuide to Opportunities for ImprovingGuide to Opportunities for ImprovingGuide to Opportunities for Improving October 2005October 2005October 2005October 2005October 2005 Grant Accountability Grant Accountability Grant Accountability Grant Accountability Grant Accountability  Promising Practices Demonstrate Opportunities forPromising Practices Demonstrate Opportunities forPromising Practices Demonstrate Opportunities forPromising Practices Demonstrate Opportunities forPromising Practices Demonstrate Opportunities forImproving Grant Accountability Improving Grant Accountability Improving Grant Accountability Improving Grant Accountability Improving Grant Accountability  Grants are an important tool used by government agencies to achievegoals. Grants support many programs that the public relies upon, such ashealthcare, transportation, and education. The 2006 Federal budgetincludes approximately $450 billion for over 700 grant programs.Opportunities for improvement exist throughout the grant process, as shownin the table below. Prior to awarding grants, it is important for agencies tohave internal control systems and performance measures to facilitate grantmanagement. Agencies then need an effective pre-award process, aprocess for managing performance once grants are awarded, and the abilityto assess grant results and use thoseresults when awarding future grants.AppendixAprovides a two-page listingof all the promising practices. For further information,For further information,For further information,For further information,For further information,contact the U.S.contact the U.S.contact the U.S.contact the U.S.contact the U.S.Environmenal ProtectionEnvironmenal ProtectionEnvironmenal ProtectionEnvironmenal ProtectionEnvironmenal Protection Agency Office of Inspector Agency Office of Inspector Agency Office of Inspector Agency Office of Inspector Agency Office of InspectorGeneral at (202) 566-2391.General at (202) 566-2391.General at (202) 566-2391.General at (202) 566-2391.General at (202) 566-2391.To view the reportTo view the reportTo view the reportTo view the reportTo view the reportonline, click ononline, click ononline, click ononline, click ononline, click on www www www www www.epa.epa.epa.epa.epa.gov/oig/dwg/.gov/oig/dwg/.gov/oig/dwg/.gov/oig/dwg/.gov/oig/dwg/   reports/dwg-grants.pdfreports/dwg-grants.pdfreports/dwg-grants.pdfreports/dwg-grants.pdfreports/dwg-grants.pdf This guide is intended not to simply identify areas of improvement, but toprovide specific examples of how organizations have already successfullyimplemented new practices or are in the process of doing so. Governmentexecutives at the Federal, State, and local levels should be able to look atthese approaches and apply some of them to their own organizations. SummarSummarSummarSummarSummar y of Opportunities for Improvement y of Opportunities for Improvement y of Opportunities for Improvement y of Opportunities for Improvement y of Opportunities for Improvement  Areas of Opportunity  Areas of Opportunity  Areas of Opportunity  Areas of Opportunity  Areas of Opportunity Promising Practice Issue AreasPromising Practice Issue AreasPromising Practice Issue AreasPromising Practice Issue AreasPromising Practice Issue Areas Purpose of GuidePurpose of GuidePurpose of GuidePurpose of GuidePurpose of Guide This guide is designed to provide government executives at theFederal, State, and locallevels with ideas for better managing grants.The guide focuses onspecific steps taken byvarious agencies. Theintent is to share usefuland innovativeapproaches taken, sothat others can consider using them. Internal Control Systems ã Preparing policies and procedures before issuing grantsã Consolidating information systems to assist in managing grantsã Providing grant management training to staff and granteesã Coordinating programs with similar goals and purposesPerformance Measures ã Linking activities with program goalsã Working with grantees to develop performance measuresPre-Award Process ã Assessing applicant capability to account for fundsã Competing grants to facilitate accountability ã Preparing work plans to provide framework for grant accountability ã Including clear terms and conditions in grant award documentsManaging Performance ã Monitoring the financial status of grantsã Ensuring results through performance monitoringã Using audits to provide valuable information about granteesã Monitoring subrecipients as a critical element of grant success Assessing and Using Results ã Providing evidence of program successã Identifying ways to improve program performanceii
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