In an era of increased accountability, public sector agencies must help maximize the value of federal grants while streamlining administrative processes, according to a study released today by the Government Business Council (GBC), the research division of Government Executive Media Group, and sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP. These grants are used by the federal government to invest approximately $766 billion each year in mission-critical needs for taxpayers. For further discussion of the study, visit "How government organizations are overcoming the challenges of grants management."1
Based on a survey of US federal, state and local employees who work with grantees and oversee grant administration, this study outlines how organizations can overcome the challenges of grants management.
Among others, key findings include:
- Government-wide coordination and information sharing on grants management have improved over the past decade.
- Successfully measuring grantee performance remains a challenge.
- Government agencies have not widely adopted risk management systems.
- A major opportunity exists to leverage data for improved decision-making.
The study recommends that agencies start prioritizing data analytics to provide insights and improve operations. Accessing quality data, along with the technology needed to analyze it, is a top challenge for agencies. Better data analytics will help agencies monitor risk and performance of grantees. While the Office of Management and Budget drives an enterprise-wide approach to data standardization, agencies can simultaneously implement smaller, incremental approaches to data improvements. For each analytics challenge, it is advisable that an agency apply a strong data and analytics transformation framework.
"Increasing sophistication of data analytics has created an unprecedented opportunity for the government to manage grants in a different way and improve outcomes for the people impacted by these grants," said Bill Colbert, Ernst & Young LLP Partner and the Financial Management Practice Leader for the firm's Government & Public Sector group. "Government doesn't need to wait to make progress for comprehensive solutions. Agencies can start to put into place the building blocks for better data and analytics now."
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1 The full study is "Improving Grants Management for Government: Insights from Public Sector Leaders," Government Business Council.