How to keep your compliance program “fresh?”
Grant Management compliance programs too often are put together and then relegated to take their place next to the potted plant on top of the four drawer file.
However for compliance programs to be effective, they must remain “fresh” by being “living documents.”
In other words, the documents serve no purpose unless they are put into service.
Effective Compliance Programs: Design vs. Operation
The best design in the world does not ensure an effective compliance program unless and until that plan is put into continuous operation.
Think of it this way:
The word compliance means to agree to do something.
When an organization is awarded a grant they receive funds for a specific purpose. By accepting the money the organization is obligated to maintain compliance with the grantor’s expectations.
The grant funds also come with “strings attached” in the form of regulatory and legal requirements.
When it comes to grant management, compliance programs become the “ways and means” for organizations meet the expectations and requirements of the grantee.
4 Tips for Operating an Effective Compliance Program
Operating effective compliance programs often require integrating complex provisions, obligations, and regulations.
Simplify this process by breaking the process down into four core elements:
Tip #1: Create
Creating policies and procedures serve the need for adherence to provisions and regulations dictated by the grantor and other associated agencies and legal bodies.
However, the purpose of an organization’s compliance program goes beyond this limited scope. Effective policies serve as a framework for decision-making on a wide variety of issues the organization may encounter during the life of their grant.
Tip #2: Train
Training is a key element for staff to understand the expectations related to both the grant and other organizational policies and processes.
Compliance training is most effective when it is a job requirement and employee’s understanding of training topics is tested and documented.
Tip #3: Measure
Measurement is a key component of operating an effective compliance program. One of the first things to track is whether sufficient funding remains to support the program.
“SMART” goals should be established and measured. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive.
Tip #4: Review
In order to be effective compliance programs must include appropriate review and monitoring to ensure enforcement of policies and procedures.
Next, goals for the grant should be evaluated to make sure the program is staying on-track and achieving the desired results.
Finally, review includes a prompt response to any and all compliance issues.
“Re-fresh” to stay fresh
The secret to keeping your grant management compliance program “fresh” is to “re-fresh” these 4 key elements periodically over the life of the grant.
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA
CEO, Compliance Warrior