OMB on GMLOB: “Align with one the three Consortia Leads. There’ll be no more”

On Friday OMB made a significant announcement about the GMLOB to the CIO Council mailing list:

In the FY07 President’s Budget, OMB designated three agencies as consortia leads for the Grants Management Line of Business (GM LoB): the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families, and the National Science Foundation.

In FY08 budget guidance, OMB directed agencies to seek its approval for Development, Modernization and Enhancement funding relating to grants management systems. In addition, OMB moved agency GM LoB implementation plan milestones to allow the grants community to focus on plans to implement the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA).

Now that FFATA implementation requirements are being clarified, the GM LoB can regain momentum and demonstrate success. Moving forward, agencies should align with one the three Consortia Leads; OMB will not be designating additional leads. By the end of Q1FY08, agencies will be required to sign an MOU with a lead to work towards future migration. After completing a fit/gap analysis with appropriate leads, agencies that are unable to align with a lead may submit an appeal to OMB. OMB will be issuing an official memo and guidance defining agency implementation plan milestones. OMB, in coordination with the GM LoB PMO, will additionally be issuing a template and guidance for any agency wishing to appeal.

Wow. This is an about-turn after earlier this year, when the GMLOB folks said that additional leads would be named. I’m not sure what’s driving this strategy, and I’m really not sure that it’s a good idea. I’m very eager to see the upcoming guidance about aligning with a lead and the appeal process as they should give us a better idea.

TCG has done a comparison of all GMLOB providers for multiple clients now, so we’re quite comfortable in figuring out where agencies best fit in this environment. It’s not easy — we can certainly attest to that! — but now looks more important than ever. (Anyone interested in help on this should contact me.)