ACF will be open and transparent in all of its contracting, grant competitions, and regulations that involve spending of Recovery Act funding consistent with statutory and OMB guidance. ACF will make use of technological advances, innovative applications and electronic media to optimize transparency and satisfy the Recovery Act's accountability objectives. This is an efficient and economical approach to improving the exchange of information and foster collaboration among government, nonprofits, businesses, and private citizens.
Information on programmatic results, program operations and decisions will be routinely disclosed and regularly updated on the program website, which can be accessed through the ACF OCS website (located at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/). Annual performance results will be made available in the annual ACF Budget Justification and Online Performance Appendix (available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/olab/budget/index.html).
After evaluation of quarterly report content, the program office will prepare accounts of current program status, management controls and program improvement initiatives, and other pertinent information (including financial updates) for release on the previously noted ACF Office of Community Services website.
ACF will ensure that recipient reporting required by Section 1512 of the Recovery Act and OMB guidance is made available to the public on Recovery.gov by October 10, 2009. ACF will inform recipients of their reporting obligation through standard terms and conditions, grant announcements, contract solicitations, and other program guidance, and will provide technical assistance to grantees and contractors and fully utilize Project Officers to ensure compliance with reporting requirements. In addition, funded grantees are required to submit Performance Progress Reports, and semi-annual financial status reports using the required standard form (SF-269).
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 on audits of states, local governments, and nonprofit organizations, non-Federal entities that receive financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from the Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.
To ensure that managers are held to high standards of accountability in achieving program goals under the Recovery Act, ACF will build on and strengthen existing processes. Senior ACF and OCS officials will meet regularly with senior Department officials to ensure that projects are meeting their program goals, assessing and mitigating risks, ensuring transparency, and incorporating corrective actions. The personnel performance appraisal system will also incorporate Recovery Act program stewardship responsibilities for program and business function managers.
ACF program managers and senior managers are accountable for the oversight of performance results and improvement actions through the Performance Management Appraisal Program (PMAP). PMAP plans define clear expectations for managerial performance related to Recovery Act objectives, the HHS Strategic Plan, ACF-wide goals, and other key measures, including those identified by customers/stakeholders.
Experience with existing OCS programs will inform pre-and post-award development of guidance and provision of technical assistance. In order to prevent ineffective spending or waste, fraud, and abuse, grantees will be provided on-going post-award technical assistance through web-based seminars, e-newsletters, an interactive grantee website and personal follow up by program office and resource center staff in addition to annual conference training.