AAFCPAs’ John Buckley, CPA, CGMA discussed challenges and opportunities facing Charter Schools while attending and presenting at this year’s National Charter School’s Conference in Austin, TX. In conversations, John learned that many schools have yet to formally update their procurement policies to reflect the Uniform Guidance (UG) procurement standards. As a reminder, the grace period for non-federal entities to comply with these standards concluded on July 1, 2018. If you have not already, AAFCPAs strongly urges schools to not delay further in developing and implementing a written procurement policy.
What Are the Procurement Standards Under the Uniform Guidance?
In December 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the new Uniform Guidance (UG), which includes comprehensive reform rules affecting all organizations receiving federal grants and contracts. One of the areas of significant change under the UG are the procurement standards, a component of Subpart D, Post-Award Requirements, contained in Sections 200.317 through 200.326. These sections describe the applicable procurement standards, the methods of procurements to be followed, and details of specific items that must be included within contracts under federal awards. In a blog published in August 2016, AAFCPAs outlines the major changes included in the procurement standards, and provides Guidance on How to Comply with Procurement Standards Under the Uniform Guidance.
What Does This Mean For Charter Schools?
Many of the components of the updated UG procurement standards were developed from OMB Circular A-102, under which charter schools are already required to comply. As a result, charter schools should be in compliance with most of these standards. AAFCPAs has provided for your convenience a summary of requirements outside of OMB Circular A-102 that charter school clients should be aware of:
- Requests for Transfers of Records: This requirement is expanded under the new UG procurement standards to include that access to review of the true name of victims of a crime is only allowable under extraordinary and rare circumstances, and does not include routine transactions. Appropriate steps to protect this sensitive information must be taken by both the non-Federal entity and the Federal awarding agency.
- Termination of a Federal Award: This requirement is further defined to include components such as termination by the Federal Awarding Agency for cause, written notice by the non-Federal awardee for cause, etc.
- Remedies for Non Compliance: This requirement is expanded to include initiation of suspension and debarment proceedings.
AAFCPAs is available to provide guidance on how your audit may be affected by these new standards, as well as to provide recommendations regarding best practices for grant compliance.