Two new policies have been developed for any organization with OJP grant funding or those intending to apply for a grant from OJP should be fully informed of all policies, guidelines, or rules concerning the application, acquisition or management of grants.
Grant policies, guidelines or rules may be located at the OJP funding website. All Chiefs, managers or grant writers need to have this information available while planning a new grant project to assist with informed grant project development. Being informed will prevent your organization from getting a turndown letter from the Office of Justice technicalities. Every grant writer must also have the Federal financial guidelines to assure a complete and allowable budget as well (2011 Financial Guide) both of the new polices clarify past rules and guidelines.
New Policy OJP training Guiding Principles for Grantees and Subgrantees
Any training or training materials developed or delivered with grant funding provided by the Office of Justice Programs is to adhere to the following guiding principles:
1.) Trainings must comply with applicable law. In developing and conducting grant-funded training, grantees (and any subgrantees) shall not violate the Constitution or any federal law, including any law prohibiting discrimination.
2.) The content of trainings and training materials must be accurate, appropriately tailored, and focused. The content of training programs must be accurate, useful to those being trained, and well-matched to the program's stated objectives. Training materials used or distributed at trainings must be accurate, relevant, and consistent with these guiding principles.
3.) Trainers must be well-qualified in the subject area and skilled in presenting it. Trainers must possess the subject-matter knowledge and the subject-specific training experience necessary to meet the objectives of the training. In selecting or retaining a trainer, grantees (or subgrantees) should consider such factors as the trainer's resume and written materials, interviews with the trainer, observation of other trainings conducted by the trainer, feedback from other entities with which the trainer has worked, training participant feedback and evaluations, and the general reputation of the trainer.
4.) Trainers must demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism. Trainers must comport themselves with professionalism. While trainings will necessarily entail varying teaching styles, techniques, and degrees of formality, as appropriate to the particular training goal, professionalism demands that trainers instruct in the manner that best communicates the subject matter while conveying respect for all.
New Policy and Guidance for Conference Approval, Planning and Reporting
All conferences (defined broadly to include meetings, retreats, seminars, symposiums, events, and group training activity) conducted by Cooperative Agreement recipients or contractors funded by OJP must receive written prior approval. An approved award budget is not a prior approval. All prior approval requests must be submitted a minimum of 90 days in advance of the start date. See the Prior Approval section for more information.
In addition, Cooperative Agreement recipients and contractors conducting conferences that cost more than $20,000 must, report actual conference expenses within 30 days after the last day of the event. See the Post Event Reporting section for more information.
No hotel/venue or audio-visual contracts may be entered into before such prior approval has been obtained in writing from OJP.
Grants: Conferences conducted by grant recipients do not require prior approval. However, grant recipients must ensure compliance with the food/beverage, meeting room/audio-visual, logistical planner and programmatic planner limitations and cost thresholds. (Note – if you do not have a "K" in the last 4 characters of your award number, your award is a grant.)
I have seen many good projects get turned down for funding due to the lack of knowledge about the proper development of a grant project which includes training, conferences, travel, etc. Both the OJP funding policies and the Financial Guide will assist the grant writing to avoid these pitfalls altogether.
These new policies are but two of the hundreds of rule, policies and guidelines for developing and managing a grant properly. The more time spent prior to the grant application getting to know what these rules, policies and guidelines state, the better chance the applicant has in getting awarded the grant funding. Always do your homework before you apply. Read the Funding solicitation carefully and never skip the extra documents and resources defined or referenced in the solicitation. Consistency with the process will assure success in funding.