Officials say they really, really mean it.
Office of Management and Budget officials this week reiterated to grant-making agencies the requirement to use the governmentwide Web portal for finding and applying to grants.
The requirement isn't new to agencies -- it has been published in various forms, including a Federal Register notice, budget directions and passback language. But this week's public reminder suggests agencies were not complying in their submissions to OMB.
In a Jan. 7 memo, the agency's controller, Linda Springer, and Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for information technology and e-government, clarified the language sent to agencies Nov. 20, 2003, during the budget passback process. In the passbacks, agencies were directed to use the find and apply functions of Grants.gov, one of the 24 e-government initiatives. All new fiscal 2004 planning and development funding should go toward developing a plan to integrate the agency's grants system to the governmentwide solution by Sept. 1.
"The above language...re-enforces Grants.gov as the federal government's single, online portal for any person, business, or state, local and tribal government to find and apply for federal grants," officials wrote in the memo.
The memo outlines that agencies are required to post grant announcements at the Grants.gov find module and identify grants that can be applied for using the portal. Agencies should also work with the Grants.gov program office to develop a schedule by March 1, 2004 for using the apply function and taking the steps to create the appropriate application packages for the portal, officials said.
Agencies must also continue work to migrate agency-specific systems and not begin development of new functions that would duplicate the Grants.gov effort. Officials said agencies must start making fiscal 2004 payments to Grants.gov, and the program office will be working with agencies to establish a fee-for-service agreement, the memo states.
Finally, redirected fiscal 2004 new planning and development funds not related to the find and apply functions should be used for grants management back-office systems, such as budget, performance and financial system, officials said.
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