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The Grants Policy Committee: Enhancing the grant experience for everyone


GPC Frequently Asked Questions

Grants Streamlining
Standard Forms and Reports
Audit Work Group Activities
The GPC and the Transparency Act
Grantee Participation
Grants Streamlining
1.How will you ensure that the GPC's goals and Strategic Plan are implemented now that P.L. 106-107 has sun set?
 The GPC remains committed to serving the best interests of the grants community by continually identifying opportunities to improve Federal financial assistance. The GPC's improvement efforts gained significant momentum when the committee assumed responsibility for implementing P.L. 106-107, the Federal Financial Management Assistance Act of 1999. While P.L. 106-107 expired in November 2007, the GPC continues to build on this momentum, advancing existing efforts and leveraging new opportunities to enhance Federal financial assistance. View the draft Implementation Plan.
2.Why is it taking so long to streamline policy around grants and cooperative agreements?
 It takes time to ensure that all agencies are able to contribute comments to the process and address each issue. This process requires the GPC to revisit issues frequently. For example, if an agency is not involved in initial discussions of a report format and then comes to the table later in the process, the GPC takes time to hear and consider their suggestions, which consequently improves the policy.
There are also Office of Management and Budget (OMB) legal requirements that must be taken into consideration. Statutes must be met or altered, which involves working with Congressional stakeholders. Once agency policy is determined internally, each agency has to work with its stakeholders in Congress to update legislation with the new change to their mission.
3.Why does it seem like so many agencies are working on the same thing within the grants streamlining process?
 There are many areas within grants and grants management implementation in which representation and input from each grant-making agency is vital.
4.I am somewhat concerned that the streamlining requirements have not adequately flowed down to the state and recipient level. When would this take place within your Strategic Plan, as the success or failure of the process will largely depend on these same requirements flowing down from the Federal Government?
 One of the reasons for the length of time involved has been the GPC's goal to include Federal grant programs in all aspects of this process. The process itself has involved everything from announcements via through close-outs and audits. When completed, the goal is to streamline and standardize virtually all aspects of grants administration so that applicants have equal opportunities. If successful, a recipient would be able to expend most grant related resources to address the funded service, research, assistance, etc., because the administrative and reporting aspects are simplified and standardized. Including stakeholder input in this process has taken time.
Second, as the GPC moves into the latter stages of the process, it is trying to include states, universities, and non-profits to a larger extent, so the outcomes will be reflective of their concerns. The GPC expects a more robust dialogue among federal and non-federal partners as it continues with the streamlining effort.
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Standard Forms and Reports
5.Will the reporting forms the GPC is creating gradually replace program-specific reports currently required by agencies for real property, personal property, etc.?
 Yes, the GPC is currently developing standard forms to capture essential information. Ideally, upon their completion, each agency will adopt and begin to use these standard forms.
6.Reviewing the Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR), there are a number of different sections and types of instructions. Will I be required to complete them all once this format has been adopted?
 No, completion of all reporting forms will not be required. A format for completing the SF-PPR has been created. There are narrative and performance accountability sections. Individual agencies may require grantees to complete specific report sections.
7.Will the Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR) be required in addition to or instead of other currently used Federal performance or progress reports?
 The SF-PPR is intended to be a common form and format that can replace or incorporate the needs of existing OMB-cleared performance progress reports. It should not be used in addition to other reporting formats.
8.I need to collect information for my Federal agency that is specific to my programs and grant projects. Can the Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR) serve my needs?
 Yes. The SF-PPR can be used alone or with a narrative response. The SF-PPR consists of two forms and five formats. The cover page is a form. The SF-PPR-F is a form that can be used to collect information in a quantifiable "yes/no" set of answers that relate to Performance Assessment Ratings
  •Greater consistency across Federal agencies, programs, and grant projects;
  •Eventual electronic submission through standard system-to-system interfaces; and
  •Performance information that can be compared across programs and agencies.
9.Are Federal agencies required to use the Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR)?
 The SF-PPR will be available soon for Federal agencies to use as a "proof of concept" to test whether it allows stakeholders to submit or collect useful performance information.
10.What is the reporting frequency for the Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR) reports and when are they due?
 At this time, reporting frequency and due dates are determined by the awarding agency. The GPC has developed draft policy, which is not currently finalized or published, that recommends that all Federal post-award reporting periods be based on calendar quarter dates that end September 30, December 31, March 31, and July 31.
11.Is the Tangible Personal Property Report (TPPR) a new form or does it replace existing forms?
 The TPPR is a new form. There is currently no standard form that grant recipients may use for providing required information concerning tangible personal property. Several Federal agencies have adapted contract reporting forms for use on their grants. The TPPR will replace those forms.
12.What is tangible personal property?
 Tangible personal property refers to items such as equipment and supplies. It includes federally owned items provided by the awarding agency for use on the grant and items acquired with grant funds.
13.What are the new reporting requirements for the Tangible Personal Property Report (TPPR)?
 The TPPR establishes a standard annual report date (September 30), when annual reporting is required. It does not create any new content-based reporting requirements.
14.When should I submit the Tangible Personal Property Report (TPPR)?
 Requirements for reporting tangible personal property vary by the type of property, the value of the property, and ownership of the property. Reporting may be required annually, at award closeout, or when the property is no longer required. The form is intended to assist recipients in providing Federal agencies with appropriate information concerning tangible personal property when necessary.
15.When will the Tangible Personal Property Report (TPPR) be available for use?
 After review and consideration of public comments, the form will be released for use.
16.Will I be able to submit the Tangible Personal Property Report (TPPR) electronically?
 Currently, the TPPR is a paper form. However, the agreed upon standard data elements will support future electronic and system-to-system submission.
17.When will the Inventions Report data elements be published for comment?
 The GPC has revised the Inventions Report data elements based on input received on earlier solicitations for comments and the most recent forms used by various agencies, so the data elements should be published within the next few months.
18.What will be the advantage of the Inventions Report form?
 There are various approaches across Federal agencies for reporting on inventions developed with Federal funds. As with other forms being developed, this approach will allow for a Federal-wide reporting form to be used across agencies, allowing Federal funding recipients to easily learn and comply with use of a single standardized form, as opposed to use of multiple agency-specific forms.
19.How will the Inventions Report work?
 Depending on the timeliness of recipients electronically reporting data on their Federally-funded inventions (e.g., through to the Government, the applicable data fields in the form will be auto-populated from the Government data system. The user will then verify and update the information for accuracy and completeness prior to submission of the report.
20.Who will be the sponsor/owner agency for the Real Property Status Report (RPSR)?
 The General Services Administration (GSA) is sponsoring the RPSR
21.Will all agencies be required to use the Real Property Status Report (RPSR) to obtain real property reports from their recipients?
 Agencies that provide real property to Federal Financial Assistance recipients for the purpose of performing under an assistance award will be required to use the RPSR when:
  •Recipients use Federal Financial Assistance funding to purchase real property.
  •An agency provides real property to a recipient of Federal Financial Assistance as government furnished property (GFP).
  •A recipient improves real property using federal funding under a Federal Financial Assistance award.
  •A recipient donates real property as a cost share or matching donation.
22.Can recipients use the Real Property Status Report for both reporting and requesting information from an agency?
 Yes, recipients can use the RPSR to report the current status of any acquired real property. They can also use it to request authority to acquire, improve, or furnish (as GFP) real property as well as to request disposition instructions when the property is no longer needed for its original intended purpose under the award.
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Audit Work Group Activities
23.What is the status of the Single Audit Quality Review Report? What action will the GPC be taking as a result of it?
 The Single Audit Quality Review Report has been issued. The Audit Work Group is addressing four parts of the report:
  •The group is working to add more substance to the report around education requirements for auditors that conduct A-133 audits.
  •The group is working to add more substance to the report around education requirements for auditors that conduct A-133 audits.
  •The team is also working with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to change reporting requirements with respect to sample sizes, documentation compliance, and inefficiency. The appropriate changes will then be made to the A-133.
  •The Work Group plans to strengthen the requirements for qualified auditors. Currently, there are no training requirements. The team intends to set up the appropriate training courses, but the group is open to input on which courses to include.
  •Finally, the Work Group is addressing the penalty for auditors who incorrectly complete reports.
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The GPC and the Transparency Act
24.What is the GPC's role in the Transparency Act?
 The GPC is responsible for reviewing new data requirements and conducting analysis to see if data is already captured under current grants management systems. If not, then the GPC considers how it can be uniformly captured. The Committee's role is to ensure that required data can be captured during the award stage so that is available when needed.
25.Why is it important for Government spending data to be publicly available?
 Federal agencies are required to make spending data available to the public pursuant to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (P.L. 109-282). Publishing this data demonstrates to taxpayers where Federal dollars are being spent. In addition, it helps citizens use the information to anticipate upcoming job opportunities.
26.How does the Transparency Act affect grantees and how should we get the word out about the Transparency Act data submission requirements?
  The Transparency Act mandates that grant data be posted and maintained on, a publicly searchable website.

The GPC's recommendation is to use existing agencies to promote awareness regarding Transparency Act requirements. Agencies with knowledge of Transparency Act requirements should ensure they share this information with their recipient and sub-recipient stakeholders. In addition, recipient institutions can request that Federal employees with Transparency Act knowledge speak to their organization.
There are several challenges to public awareness and implementation of The Transparency Act:
  •Many grantees are not aware that the grant's sub-recipients need to be captured.
  •The questions around who is responsible for capturing the sub-recipient data and maintaining its integrity have not been definitively answered by the Transparency Act Task Force. The responsibility may ultimately be placed upon the grant recipients to document and update their sub-recipient information.
  •Not all agencies have a program source for grants data.
  •Agencies do not always collect data regarding the location where the actual research is being performed (oceanographic research, matters of national security, etc.).
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Grantee Participation
27.Can the GPC provide a mechanism for grantee involvement so that grantees can provide their views at the time the policy is developed, before the documents are published in the Federal Register?
  The Federal Register is the standard mechanism for communicating with the community. Proposed policy is published on the Federal Register as a draft and is open for comments and suggestions from the community. The draft is then reconciled with the community's comments and either another draft is produced or the original draft is finalized, depending on the comments received.

The GPC believes that gathering input from the grantee community as early as possible is valuable, and will make every effort to maximize stakeholder input within the confines of governmental business and legal limitations.
If you have questions about the Federal government's efforts to streamline grants management, please contact the Grants Policy Committee.
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