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2 C.F.R 200: UNIFORM GUIDANCE

Posted By Amy Bontrager on December 01, 2014

OMB together with Federal awarding agencies is issuing a joint interim final rule to implement the new guidance at 2 C.F.R. 200 titled Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance). The rule will be available for public inspection December 18th, published in the Federal register December 19th (at www.Federalregister.gov) and effective for new awards or some funding increments on or after December 26, 2014.

The final guidance and implementing regulations delivers on President Obama’s second term management agenda and his first term directives under Executive Order 13520, the February 28, 2011 Presidential Memorandum, and the objectives laid out in OMB Memorandum M-13-17 to better target financial risks and better direct resources to achieve evidence-based outcomes. The final guidance, which was originally published December 26, 2013 (available at 78 FR 78589) simultaneously improves performance, transparency, and oversight for Federal awards. The COFAR will measure the impact of this guidance as described under M-14-17.

This is the first I’ve heard of this. Where can I find a good summary of the Uniform Guidance and policy changes it includes?
The best summary of the Uniform Guidance is in the preamble that was published when it was finalized. The preamble is available at 78 FR 78589.

What happens on December 19th and after?
The interim final rule implementing the Uniform Guidance will be published by the Federal Register on December 19th, 2014 and available for public inspection on December 18, 2014 (at www.Federalregister.gov). The CFR will be updated once the guidance becomes effective on December 26, 2014.

What does the December 19, 2014 Federal Register publication include?
The implementing regulation that will be published on December 19th does not include any new policy. It does include regulatory language required to streamline the existing voluminous body of agency regulations into alignment with the Uniform Guidance. This includes language eliminating more than 20 previously separate regulations. OMB estimates that the result of this reform will be a 75% reduction in financial management regulations for Federal awards. Further, non-Federal entities will now be able to access agency-specific implementation of OMB guidance from one location in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations.Specifically, the implementing regulation will include the following:

Agency adoption of OMB’s Uniform Guidance: Since the publication of the Uniform Guidance on December 26, 2013, the COFAR has been working with Federal agencies and non-Federal stakeholders to prepare for the December 26, 2014 implementation of the policy. The interim final rule will include formal adoption of the Uniform Guidance by 28 Federal awarding agencies in their respective chapters of Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Agency exceptions or additions to the Uniform Guidance: In addition to formally adopting the Uniform Guidance, some agency implementing regulations include exceptions or additions to 2 C.F.R. 200. Agency-specific exceptions do not represent new policy. OMB only accepted exceptions where agencies were able to demonstrate that they were authorized by statute or part of long standing policy. For example, the Corporation for National and Community Service included an exception in their regulation to allow recipients to use Federal funds from other agencies as match or cost share as authorized by 42 U.S.C. 12571(e). Agency additions include further guidance or clarification that some agencies chose to include in their regulations. For example, some agencies specify the agency official responsible for granting exceptions to the Uniform Guidance. To see a cross-walk of agency-specific exceptions or additions,view our Agency Exceptions document

Conforming changes to other regulations:
Many Federal awarding agencies also revised program-specific regulations to update language and references to be consistent with the Uniform Guidance. These changes will also be reflected in the Federal Register publication.Technical corrections to the The Federal Register publication will also include technical corrections that were made to the Uniform Guidance. Many of these corrections are a result of comments received from non-Federal stakeholders and Federal awarding agencies. These corrections do not represent a change in policy, but are included where is has come to the attention that particular language in the final guidance did not match the intent of the policy.

What happens to my organization on December 26th?
The Uniform Guidance becomes effective on December 26, 2014. In practice, non-Federal entities are not required to implement the final guidance until they receive a Federal award with terms and conditions that incorporate the Uniform Guidance on or after December 26, 2014. For more information regarding the effective date please see the COFAR’s FAQ document.

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