Get Your Policies, Procedures Ready Now for Uniform Guidance Revisions
Jerry Ashworth

We here at Thompson Grants were honored to be among the panelist presenting at the National Grants Management Association’s special webinar last week discussing revisions to Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) uniform guidance. In case you missed it, we provided information to help clarify the effective date under OMB’s Aug. 13 final guidance announcing the revisions.

Transitioning to new regulations can be confusing, but we’ll try to simplify it here as best as we can. Provisions in the revised guidance become effective for new awards and modifications to existing awards issued on or after Nov. 12, 2020, except for two new provisions in the guidance at §200.116 and §200.340, which became effective immediately. Therefore, existing awards will continue to follow the current uniform guidance as addressed in their award terms and conditions.

What are the two provisions that became effective as of Aug. 13? The provision at §200.216, often referred among the webinar panelists as the “Huawei ban,” states that “recipients and subrecipients are prohibited from obligating or expending loan or grant funds to: (1) procure or obtain; (2) extend or renew a contract to procure or obtain; or (3) enter into a contract (or extend or renew a contract) to procure or obtain equipment, services or systems that use(s) covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.” Many of the “covered” companies are Chinese firms, including Huawei Technologies Company. The termination provision at §200.340 now eliminates the current “for cause” reason for termination and replaces it with one stating that an award may be terminated “if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities.”

The webinar panel addressed many of the new provisions in the guidance, including topics ranging from the new “Huawei ban”, the de-emphasis of nonbinding guidance (§200.105), the new program planning and design provision at §200.202, changes to performance measurement (§200.301), changes to the period of performance (§200.309), determining recipient risk, changes to the micro-purchase threshold (§200.320(a)), closeout reporting changes (§200.344), and the expanded applicability of the de minimis indirect cost rate (§200.414(f)). The majority of attendee questions following the panel discussion focused on the often-confusing topic of indirect cost rates.

In relation to the discussion on effective dates, one attendee asked whether a recipient organization should wait until Nov. 12 to update its procurement policies and procedures to comply with the new procurement thresholds under the revised guidance. In response to the question, panelist Scott Scheffler, partner with Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP, advised that a recipient should go ahead and “get ready” to update their policies and procedures now so that they are prepared for awards received after Nov. 12. We agree; this is definitely good advice. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for these changes. Understand now how they will affect your organization and plan to update your internal documents accordingly.

Join us for our following Federal Grants Forums:
Virtual Federal Grants Forum  |  October 7-9, 2020
Revised Uniform Guidance Town Hall  |  October 29, 2020