Plan boosts Federal Commons
- By Christopher Dorobek (Moderator)
- May 25, 2001
Initial plan to implement the Federal Financial Assistance Improvement Act
Technology can improve the way the government delivers the more than $325
billion in grants it makes each year, a multi-agency group said in its initial
plan for streamlining the federal grants process. Using new technology can
improve customer satisfaction and increase cost-effectiveness, according
to the initial plan of the Grants Management Committee of the Chief Financial
The plan specifically highlights the Federal Commons project as a "significant
example of the application of technology to the federal grant process."
The Federal Commons (www.fedcommons.gov)
is coordinated through the Interagency Electronic Grants Committee, a task
force led by the General Services Administration. It provides information
about grants across the federal government and will include ways for secure
online applications for grants.
"We believe full development and implementation of the Federal Commons
will alleviate many of the concerns of applicants and recipients," the plan
stated. "Use of the Federal Commons, coupled with the planned changes to
the administrative processes, should improve quality, timeliness and responsiveness."
The committee presented the initial plan to Congress last week, and
it falls under the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act
of 1999, which requires that agencies develop a plan for streamlining grants
The group said that the Office of Management and Budget will ask agencies
for suggestions for legislative changes that could further streamline the
grants process. OMB also will ask agencies to list their existing and proposed
electronic grants systems. Furthermore, OMB's Office of Information and
Regulatory Affairs will review grant-related proposed rules for governmentwide
In addition to technology-related suggestions, the plan also notes that
administrative changes are needed to make it easier for recipients to carry
out grant-support programs.
The initial plan was put together by an interagency group spearheaded
by the Department of Health and Human Services, which coordinated the support
of 25 grant-making agencies and OMB. The plan also included representatives
from state and local governments, American Indian tribes and tribal organizations,
and universities and nonprofit organizations.
The group has made some progress already, the plan said, including issuing
standards for grant financial systems through the Joint Financial Management
The group also completed five successful pilots within the Federal Commons
dealing with issues such as user registration, account administration and
application status checks.
Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.
Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.
Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.
Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.