In response to the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), among other things, developed Grants.gov as the central grant identification and application portal for federal grant programs. OMB oversees the initiative and named the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) its managing partner. Grants.gov officials have acknowledged noticeably degraded system performance, and grantees have reported difficulties submitting applications that have in some cases led to late or incomplete submissions and lost opportunities for both grantees and populations served. Through analysis of agency documents, a Web-based survey of federal grant-making officials, and interviews with agency officials and grantee associations, this requested report examines (1) the benefits of Grants.gov and applicant experiences with submitting applications, (2) the governance structure of Grants.gov, and (3) the range of agency policies for processing Grants.gov applications.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Office of Management and Budget||To increase the effectiveness and long-term viability of Grants.gov, OMB should (1) work with HHS to develop performance measures related to system availability, usability, and data integrity and (2) direct HHS and the Grants.gov PMO to review performance results on a regular and recurring basis and communicate decisions based on performance information to show that performance information is reviewed and acted upon.|
|Office of Management and Budget||To increase the effectiveness and long-term viability of Grants.gov, OMB should work with HHS to develop guidance that (1) ensures that the Grants.gov budget and funding model adopted by the GEB adequately supports the package of Grants.gov IT services approved through the HHS CPIC process; (2) clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the GEB, HHS OCIO and Grants.gov PMO with respect to Grants.gov, including how these entities are to coordinate with each other to resolve Grants.gov system issues; and (3) addresses GSA's role and specific responsibilities in developing approaches for longer-term Grants.gov solutions.|
|Office of Management and Budget||To increase the effectiveness and long-term viability of Grants.gov, OMB should work with HHS and other stakeholders as appropriate to identify and implement a Grants.gov "applicant user group" or other systematic, periodic approaches for obtaining grantees' input on changes and improvements to Grants.gov system.|
|Office of Management and Budget||To increase the effectiveness and long-term viability of Grants.gov, OMB should work with HHS, the Grants Policy Committee, and other stakeholders as appropriate to identify and implement, to the extent permissible by law, governmentwide policies for processing grant applications, with the goals of minimizing applicant confusion and burden and creating a level playing field for all application submissions, no matter the submission method. These policies could address (1) criteria for what constitutes a timely and complete application; (2) notifications grantor agencies provide applicants when an application has been received or been deemed late or incomplete; (3) criteria for granting appeals for applications deemed late or incomplete; and (4) the Grants.gov registration process.|
|Office of Management and Budget||To increase the effectiveness and long-term viability of Grants.gov, OMB should also ensure that grantees have a structured, ongoing means to provide input on the development and implementation of governmentwide grant application policies and procedures.|