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General Government: Federal Grant Awards

To ensure federal funds are awarded efficiently, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Food and Nutrition Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should ensure their grant management staff review applications for potential duplication and overlap before awarding competitive grants and cooperative agreements.

Action:

To reduce the risk of duplicative and overlapping funding at the grant award level, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior should direct the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue written guidance that ensures their grant management staff review grant applications for potential duplication and overlap before awarding their competitive grants and cooperative agreements.

Progress:

The Fish and Wildlife Service issued guidance to ensure grant applications are reviewed for potential overlap and duplication, as GAO recommended in January 2017, but as of August 2017 the National Park Service had yet to issue such guidance. In August 2017, the Department of Interior (Interior) provided documentation showing that the Fish and Wildlife Service now requires discretionary grant applicants to provide a statement that addresses whether there is any overlap or duplication of proposed projects or activities to be funded by the grant. Fish and Wildlife also updated its guidance to grant awarding offices instructing them to perform a potential overlap and duplication review of all selected applicants prior to award.

Interior said the National Park Service plans to issue guidance, and would provide it to GAO when it is finalized and implemented. Completing these improvements will help the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service reduce the risk of unnecessary or inadvertent overlap or duplication in grant funding.

Implementing Entity:

Department of the Interior

Action:

To reduce the risk of duplicative and overlapping funding at the grant award level, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Food and Nutrition Service to issue written guidance that ensures its grant management staff review grant applications for potential duplication and overlap before awarding Food and Nutrition Service competitive grants and cooperative agreements. 

Progress:

In August 2017, the Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) said the Food and Nutrition Service was developing written guidance that will ensure its grants management staff identify grant programs for potential duplication and overlap with other federal agencies before awarding competitive grants and cooperative agreements, as GAO recommended in January 2017. Agriculture officials said the guidance would be based on input from grants management staff, relevant Food and Nutrition program officials, and reviews of similar guidance already in place at other Agriculture sub-agencies. The Food and Nutrition Service plans to issue this guidance in the fall of 2017. Issuing and implementing this guidance will reduce the risk of unnecessary or inadvertent overlap or duplication in grant funding.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Agriculture

Action:

To reduce the risk of duplicative and overlapping funding at the grant award level, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) should direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue written guidance that ensures its grant management staff review grant applications for potential duplication and overlap before awarding CDC competitive grants and cooperative agreements.

Progress:

CDC issued guidance to ensure grant applications are reviewed for potential overlap and duplication, as GAO recommended in January 2017. In August 2017, an HHS official provided documentation showing that effective in March 2017, the funding opportunity announcement templates included language instructing applicants to self-report duplication or overlap with another application or award.  Issuing and implementing this guidance will reduce the risk of unnecessary or inadvertent overlap or duplication in grant funding.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Health and Human Services
  • portrait of
    • Heather Krause
    • Director, Physical Infrastructure
    • krauseh@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-6806