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NCURA 54 th Annual Conference

NCURA 54 th Annual Conference. USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Office of Grants and Financial Management November 7, 2012. Topics to be Covered. USDA Farm Bill OGFM Strategic Plan OGFM 2012 Stakeholder Outreach Pilot OGFM Communications Audit

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NCURA 54 th Annual Conference

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  1. NCURA 54th Annual Conference USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Office of Grants and Financial Management November 7, 2012

  2. Topics to be Covered • USDA Farm Bill • OGFM Strategic Plan • OGFM 2012 Stakeholder Outreach Pilot • OGFM Communications Audit • NIFA A-123 Internal Controls Testing • OGFM Quarterly Quality Assurance Testing • A-133 Single Audits Issues/Trends • Questions

  3. NIFA Mission Statement Leading Food and Agricultural Sciences to Create a Better Future for the Nation and the World

  4. USDA NIFA Farm Bill The only NIFA programs that are immediately and directly impacted by the expiration the Farm Bill are our mandatory programs: • Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative • Specialty Crop Research Initiative • Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, • Biomass Research and Development Initiative • Biodiesel Fuel Education Program

  5. Mission – We, the Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM), administer grants, cooperative agreements, and other federal financial assistance with policy, funding, and oversight to support the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in advancing food and agricultural sciences Core Values • Trust • Ethics • Accountability • Motivation • Willingness • Ownership • Respect • Knowledge

  6. OGFM Vision: Going From Good to Great with Eight Eight Vision Tenants Include: • Enhance communication, collaboration, and cooperation both internally and with external business partners and stakeholders • Empower staff in order to improve productivity, efficiency, and workforce satisfaction • Increase stakeholder outreach and education • Engage stakeholders in two-way dialogue in order to improve relationships • Align financial management goals with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s financial management scorecard

  7. 6. Commit business activities to policy 7. Streamline business processes to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency 8. Establish an integrated electronic workflow to reduce and/or eliminate the use of paper

  8. OGFM Strategic Plan • OGFM’s “Good to Great” Initiative • Implementation of Vision-Based Strategy • Grantee Outreach Program “Pilot” • Value Added by Outreach Program • Program Structure/Timing • Roles and Responsibilities • Strategic Communications Audit and Planning • Value Added by Strategic Communications Audit/Planning • Ongoing Activities and Next Steps

  9. OGFM 2012 Stakeholder Outreach “Pilot” Value Added by Outreach Program

  10. OGFM 2012 Stakeholder Outreach “Pilot” Program Structure/Timeline The following elements are included as part of the Grantee Outreach Program piloted by OGFM: • Orientation Call/Suggested Topic Collection • Monthly Outreach Calls (“pilot” monthly calls to continue through mid-June) • 1890 Land Grant Institution “Pilot” Live Outreach Meeting • Lessons Learned Review Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Orientation Calls Call Agenda distributed Call Agenda distributed Call Agenda distributed Call Materials distributed Call Materials distributed Call Materials distributed Monthly Outreach Calls Monthly Outreach Calls Monthly Outreach Calls 1890 “Live” Meeting

  11. OGFM 2012 Stakeholder Outreach “Pilot” Roles & Responsibilities

  12. OGFM Communications Audit • OGFM Communications Audit an outgrowth of recommendations identified in the OGFM Organizational Assessment and organizational/operational goals detailed within OGFM’s Vision-Based Strategic Plan during FY11 • Feedback regarding internal/external communications were collected through various methods: • Working discussions • Group working discussions • Online questionnaire of both internal staff and grantees

  13. Strategic Communications Audit & Planning Ongoing Activities & Next Steps • Conducted working discussions with leadership, group working discussions with staff, and distributed questionnaires internally to select OGFM and NIFA personnel • Facilitated a Town Hall session with a group of NIFA grantees during recent live Grantee Outreach Meeting to solicit candid feedback from grantees on communication practices/materials • Currently reviewing and analyzing existing communication materials and practices to determine their effectiveness within OGFM and externally to grantees and key NIFA stakeholders • Developing comprehensive, actionable communication plans that are aligned to OGFM’s Vision-Based Strategic Plan and provide clear guidance/direction to leadership/staff on how to move forward most effectively in the near term

  14. Internal and External Communication Plans • 12 foundational communication strategies developed, 6 internal and 6 external • Examples include: • Centralized communication coordination • Triage of inbound issues • Professional development related to communications and customer service • More targeted outreach through continued implementation of Grantee Outreach Program pilot • Strategies designed to create a more positive communication environment through: • Strengthened communication • Greater engagement/robust dialogue with key stakeholders • Increased overall satisfaction amongst internal staff and grantees

  15. NIFA A-123 Internal Controls Testing • NIFA OGFM has successfully reduced the number of key controls by 41% since FY10 – streamlining control activities and eliminating duplicative controls • More effective key risk mitigation • More effective, efficient, and sustainable compliance effort requiring decreased overall level of effort/cost annually • Ongoing remediation and process improvement efforts over last three fiscal years have reduced the number of open A-123 deficiencies within Grants Management cycle by 67%

  16. OGFM Quarterly Quality Assurance Testing • NIFA OGFM continues to leverage its new Quality Assurance and Controls Monitoring (QACM) program to regularly assess operations/reliability of internal controls and reduce A-123 compliance costs (e.g. 30% reduction in A-123 testing level of effort via QACM during FY12) • Positions OGFM management to proactively identify potential issues/concerns and facilitate timely process improvement to better serve partner institutions • Poised to drive more improved risk management, mission delivery, and customer service

  17. A-133 Single Audits Issues/Trends • More robust A-133 audit resolution efforts surfaced commonly identified findings across recipient audit reports primarily related to Accounting and Grants Management activities

  18. Questions? • Andrea L. Brandon: abrandon@nifa.usda.gov • William (Bill) Bethel: wbethel@nifa.usda.gov • Andrew Moses: Andrew.Moses@morganfranklin.com

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