How changes to federal grant guidance affect your agency

It won’t be the most interesting thing you read, but do read it, make notes on the parts that apply to you, and ensure your entire team understands its importance


Any good grant administrator probably has at least one copy of the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Grants somewhere in the office. It’s a must-have for any grant recipient, and having it handy at all times will help in developing an application and managing an awarded grant. It tells you everything you will be required to do, how to manage your grant — procurement, subawards, etc. — and what the reporting requirements are, among other things.

A new, updated version is out — as of December 18 — and it will be the guidance to use for all grants awarded on or after December 26, 2014, and to develop any and all applications submitted after that date.

At more than 200 pages, it’s not an easy read. Further, a lot of the information doesn’t apply to the type of grants a law enforcement agency will receive. However, it is very important that you read it fully and make sure all the pertinent personnel in your agency read it, too. This includes your budget folks, the personnel department, and anyone who will be managing the project. Use it when you are making your decision on whether or not to apply for a grant. It is definitely important to understand what will be required of you if you are awarded a grant while you are still in the application stage. 

One of the areas that will definitely affect you is the revised procurement standards. There is a new, simplified acquisition threshold that should make it easier to purchase your grant-funded equipment. This section is a must-read.

There is a rather large section relating to audits, which you may be subject to for any of your awarded grants. Audits are often performed in response to an issue of non-compliance or other problems, but every grantee needs to be ready for an audit since they are also done routinely. This means great record keeping is a must. Clarify for everyone involved what is needed for an audit, and make sure meeting these requirements is an integral part of your regular grant management process.

The purpose of these changes — which have been in the works for five years — was to simplify a rather complex document and process, to make it easier to monitor the activities of grantees, and to reduce the work required on the part of grantees to comply with the requirements. It won’t be the most interesting thing you read, but do read it, make notes on the parts that apply to you, and ensure your entire team understands its importance.

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