In our last post, we looked at 4 tips for operating an effective grant management compliance program. In this post, let’s expand our understanding by looking at some examples of what an effective compliance program looks like.
4 Elements of an Effective Grant Management Compliance Program
Effective grant management compliance programs include these four core elements:
Operating effective compliance programs often require integrating complex provisions, obligations, and regulations.
Sounds overwhelming? Let’s try breaking these components into some easy-to-digest tips and examples.
Tip #1: Create Effective Policies and Procedures
Creating effective policies and procedures can serve as a framework for decision-making on issues the organization may encounter during the life of their grant.
Here are some examples of how creating strong policies and procedures can serve the organization:
- Assisting in making ethical organizational and business decisions
- Assisting in maintaining the organization’s core vision, mission, and values
- Detecting activities and practices that conflict with organizational standards and/or have a negative impact on the organization
- Providing a system to meet regulatory requirements
- Acting as a supportive resource for employees
- Supporting a culture of integrity within the organization and protecting the public reputation of an organization
Tips for Writing the Best Policies and Procedures
The best and most effective policies and procedures are:
- Clearly written
- Include “real life” examples.
- Address both who will be reading and following them as well as the job functions they are designed to address.
- Are regularly and consistently reviewed and updated.
Why Communication is Critical to Compliance
Operating effective grant management compliance programs also means creating open lines of communication.
Here are some examples:
- Surveys and other tools for obtaining feedback should be put into place in ways that can be easily accessed.
- Installing an anonymous “hotline” is a pro-active way for issues and challenges will be reported. (It is equally important to enforce a non-retaliation policy for employees who report problems–in some cases having this type of process may even be a requirement for your grant.)
- Newsletters and internal websites can be good resources to keep employees and other constituents and stakeholders informed.
- The Board of Directors and other oversight groups should also be regularly briefed on the compliance program.
Tip #2: Train Staff
Without training, the staff may not understand the expectations related to both the grant and other organizational policies and processes.
The first to be trained must be trainers. This means all compliance staff.
Training should be carefully crafted and regularly reviewed.
Just as when writing policies and procedures, effective compliance training utilizes “real life” examples.
Training also needs to be geared towards continuous improvement and education.
Here are some examples of ways staff can be trained:
- Encourage staff to attend appropriate conferences and webinars
- Subscribe to related publications and email lists
- Actively network with peers.
- Enroll in the classroom and online learning
Next, compliance training should be mandated for board members and other stakeholders.
Some types of training that would be relevant to them include:
- Corporate governance
- Grant compliance and oversight
- Organizational leadership
Tip #3: Measure the Effectiveness of Compliance Programs
Here are some examples of effective measurement tools for compliance programs:
- Measurable (quantifiable) goal-setting
- Measurement systems and reporting methods
When goals or benchmarks are not met, it is important to investigate the reasons why, identify problems, and implement solutions. (This is where corrective action plans come into play.)
Tip #4: Review Results
Examples of monitoring activities include some of the following methods:
- Review compliance with purchasing policies
- Test employee understanding of grant management requirements
- Examine grant spending for proper signatory authorization
- Evaluate conflict of interest policies and compliance
Ready to Improve Your Grant Management?
How about you?
Would you like to be a better grant manager?
We have another grant management training seminar coming soon.
Click here to get all the details!
Hope to see you there!
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA
CEO, Compliance Warrior
Author of “Decoding Grant Management-The Ultimate Success Guide to the Federal Grant Regulations in 2 CFR Part 200” The 2nd Edition is now available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle versions.