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Monday, July 31, 2006

Grants gov needs to streamline simplify: GAO

"Grants.gov continues to demonstrate a lack of standardization and inefficiencies in grant administration across federal agencies and difficulties with implementing its Web portal, the Government Accountability Office said in a report.

Grants.gov is the Web site where those seeking grant opportunities can find and apply for them electronically. Agencies are to post their grant opportunities or announcements of the grant opportunities on the site. All major agencies now provide this capability.

Grants.gov demonstrated progress since GAO's evaluation last year but many of the same problems persist.

'Grantees continue to express frustration with having to work with varying systems to apply for and report on the use of grant funds, to respond to different administrative requirements, and to use different payment systems,' said Stanley Czerwinski, GAO's director of strategic issues in the report [PDF] released Friday.

Grantees reported that they continue to need to use different application, reporting and payment systems, and definitions differ across agencies. Some grant processes do not align with typical grantee business practices, making it difficult for documents to flow between agency and grantee smoothly.

The Grants.gov Program Management Office, however, has taken action already to fix many of the problems, including improving the search capability and a redesign of its Web site. Grants.gov also plans further upgrades to the computer hardware to meet processing requirements as additional grant packages are added to the site, GAO said. "

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