Standards for grant portal drafted

Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999

The Office of Federal Financial Management has issued an initial draft of proposed data standards for agencies posting grant opportunities on FedBizOpps.

Moving more of the $325 billion in grants it awards each year online is one of the Bush administration's e-government initiatives. FedBizOpps ( has been selected as the federal grant portal.

The federal government has been working to comply with the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 since the Clinton administration. The law requires agencies to develop a plan for streamlining grants management and criticized them for maintaining federal grants systems that are "duplicative, burdensome or conflicting, thus impeding cost-effective delivery of services at the local level."

The Aug. 12 notice in the Federal Register is a proposal to establish "a standard format for federal agency announcements" for grants. "The purpose of the standard format is to have information organized in a consistent way," the notice says.

The proposal is an interim format that addresses some but not all of the necessary issues, the notice says.

Another Federal Register notice proposes a set of standard data for grant announcements in FedBizOpps, which eventually will be the central repository for federal solicitations and grants.

The 13 data elements will standardize how grants are listed so users will be able to find information easily and quickly, the notice says.

Comments on the notices are due by Oct. 11.

About the Author

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, 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,, 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, 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.


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