On Friday GAO issued its expected report on FFATA. The summary is here and the full document is available here. The key findings are that:
- Subaward data isn’t close to be collected, and should be
- Data quality is questionable, with most records lacking some required data
- OMB has yet to issue an annual report about FFATA to Congress
In my opinion, a major constraint in the management of FFATA at OMB is a lack of personnel dedicated to it. Like most other agencies, OMB has too few people doing far too much, and the burdens of FFATA are significant. This also points to a broader need: to establish an office in OMB whose mission is to monitor and support Federal financial assistance. There’s already an office that focuses on procurement, but procurement is tiny compared to grant-making in government. The advent of FFATA (and this report) has highlighted that more resources are need to manage grant-making policy and processes in government.