Post-Award Grants Management
Monitoring Report Form and/or Checklist
Like the review criteria discussed above, monitoring checklists should be objective and should be pre-constructed before the grant specialist conducts either the paper review or the on-site visit. For the same fairness reasons, these checklists should be uniformly used by the grant monitor when evaluating all grants. Whether to share the checklist with the sub-grantee prior to or after the periodic evaluation, or not at all, is the decision of the SAA. In effect, it is this checklist that serves as a report card. The results, when combined with the progress report, the financial report and the final report, will greatly assist the advisory board and the agency in the weighing process concerning future funding of the project or program. Tennessee’s Department of Finance and Administration has developed a Sub-recipient Contract Monitoring Manual that provides detailed guidance to program monitors, including tools for assessing risk of noncompliance and other requirements.
The procedural need for timely and complete progress reports is clear. Whether they are required on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis is made based on considerations such as: history of the grantee, size of the award, federal program reporting requirements, state monitoring requirements, etc. Grant monitoring staff should be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that these reports are received and maintained. Likewise, it is this process that will indicate when a remedial site visit is needed, as compared with a routine and regularly scheduled performance audit.
Less obvious, but of even greater importance to the SAA, is the fact that it is these reports that will begin to give form to the agency’s mission. That is, as the SAA reviews progress reports she will gain an understanding of exactly what the sub-grantee is doing to advance the cause of positive criminal justice in the state. Although it will probably not be possible for the SAA to review all progress reports, or for that matter all final reports, agency staff should regularly bring to the attention of the SAA those reports that show the sub-grantee’s progress—hence, the agency is making a positive difference. Examples of progress reports may be found at the following:
he timely submission of financial reports from the sub-grantee to the agency is critical, as is the accuracy of these reports. This presents an ongoing issue for the SAA and her staff, as many sub-grantees will need to be reminded of the importance of accurate record keeping. This area should be stressed in all trainings involving grantees and potential grantees. Without appropriate financial reports, the SAA, her staff and advisory board(s) are unable to make future funding decisions regarding the sub-grantee and may be forced to discontinue present funding.
In order to maintain the overall health of the agency, the SAA must be aware that without full financial accountability from the sub-grantees the attestations made to the agency’s grantor are at risk and, therefore, the agency is at peril. Consequently, the importance of receiving financial reports prepared using generally accepted accounting principles cannot be overemphasized. The SAAs completing of required federal financial reports will also be affected.
Representative examples of financial reports may be found at the following:
The final report of the sub-grantee should tell the story of the project and the progress that has occurred as a result of the grant. Ideally it should follow the roadmap drawn at the outset in the concept paper and/or the application. That is, the project design, programmatic advances, evaluation and final budget should all be a reflection of what has occurred to substantiate the original vision of the sub-grantee. The alterations that occur in virtually every sub-grant should be enumerated, and their value to the project highlighted and emphasized. If replication was a part of the purpose of the grant, the final report should outline the progress toward that goal.
For you as the SAA, the final report should become a part of the message of your agency. A well-presented final report will assist you in demonstrating to others the positive criminal justice work fostered by your agency. From an internal morale perspective, use of the example of an exemplary program funded by the agency can reap significant benefits. From an external perspective, telling the story of a superb effort enabled by the grant program can help to solidify the agency’s credibility and can help to assure future grants will receive less public scrutiny.
A representative example of an excellent final report may be found on the Delaware Criminal Justice Council website.