WHS Assistance Awards Management Process

Process Overview

The WHS Assistance process, covering grants and cooperative agreements, reflects federal law and agency policy as well as sound business practices. This ensures that the benefit of the assistance goes to the taxpayer, which a key tenet of assistance, as opposed to FAR type contracts. Specific elements of the WHS assistance process include:

  1. Statutory analysis of the authority for the awards.
  2. Public benefit analysis of the work planned.
  3. Compliance with 2 CFR 200 and the DoD Grant and Agreement Regulations.
  4. Competition where required and otherwise to the maximum extent practicable.
  5. Cost analysis to ensure costs are appropriate.
  6. Surveillance of awards to ensure that requirements are met.

Management Process

At WHS, for both competitive and sole-source awards, assistance listings and notice of funding opportunities are publicly posted on https://www.grants.gov. This provides transparency for all WHS awards and reflects federal requirements for publicizing programs and opportunities. The grants management process includes the following steps:

1. Planning

First, WHS, in consultation with requirements offices, ascertains the objective of the assistance as well as any statutory basis. This often requires reviewing the statute itself and coordinating with the Office of General Counsel. Funding levels, award types, and the number of awards are determined. The required proposal information and evaluation factors are also determined. The goal of these discussions is to identify the content for the notice of funding opportunity (NFO).

2. Assistance Listing and Notice of Funding Opportunity

The assistance listing is the requirement office’s communication of its objectives, anticipated funding levels, and statutory authority. This is coordinating with the Office of Management and Budget and posted on SAM.gov. The NFO however, is the public posting for planned assistance awards. This posting takes the information from the planning stage and communicates it to the public on grants.gov. It communicates the objectives of the awards, application requirements, evaluation requirements, and any planned schedules for award and execution of the assistance.

3. Application and Evaluation

Depending on the NFO, either one application stage or multiple application stages may be used. This would mean that applicants provide different applications at different times. The goal is to reduce application and evaluation time so that the best and most relevant proposals receive awards.

NFO’s are posted on grants.gov and applications are submitted directly through grants.gov in accordance with the NFO’s terms. WHS and the requirements office, in collaboration with the Office of General Counsel, then review proposals to ensure that they meet the NFO’s requirements and that the proposals are rated so that the best applications receive awards.

We use common evaluation factors, including technical merit and mission relevance. Technical merit evaluates the sophistication of the proposed objectives and processes and mission relevance is a determination of the proposal’s relevancy to DoD missions.

4. Negotiation

Based on the specifics of the proposal, WHS may communicate to applicants certain changes in the proposed effort or costs. These are usually based on specific interests held by the requirement’s office. If both the applicants and WHS can agree to the changes, then an award is made.

Important note: If chosen as a recipient, the Government will not make an award until all applicable SAM requirements have been completed. If not in full compliance with the requirements by the time the Government is ready to make an award, the assistance applicant may be deemed not qualified to receive an award, and an award may be made to another applicant.

5. Award

The award is a document prepared in accordance with 2 CFR 200 and the DoD Grant and Agreement Regulations. It communicates the compliance requirements, as well as the work award. The award will also detail schedules for deliverables, invoice requirements, and other administrative topics.

6. Post-award Monitoring

Following an award, the applicants, now recipients, pursue the awarded efforts and invoice for the work as it progresses. The recipients must provide all required deliverables and reports, as well as satisfy other invoice requirements to be paid. Recipients also have post-award responsibilities for internal controls, compliance with state and federal laws, and documentation.

As deliverables are made, the requirements office inspects them for compliance and communicates any issues to WHS. WHS then communicates the issues to the recipients, as well as any specific instructions for correcting the issues.

7. Closeout

Closeout is the process of documenting the completion of the work and payments. During this time, WHS and the compliance office review the recipient’s compliance with reporting and other requirements. If any items are outstanding, WHS will coordinate with the recipient before closing out the award.