120 – Grant Management

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Purpose

Grant funds represent a valuable means of supplementing the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s operations by providing personnel, equipment, supplies, and employee training that otherwise may not be available.

The HCSO Grant Management Office is responsible for the general oversight and administration of all HCSO grants.  This includes locating new grant opportunities, submitting grant applications, ensuring that grant awards are managed in accordance with applicable terms and conditions, submitting documents to the Harris County Commissioners Court, liaising with other County departments, and maintaining a database of all past and present HCSO grants.

This policy provides procedures relating to the process for grant management from application through budget management and final close-out. It will also outline the responsibilities of the Grants Manager, the Grant Analyst, and the Project Manager.

Definitions

Grants Manager: Responsible for planning and implementing an overall strategy for HCSO grant programs, including supervision of grant personnel and managing the grant process from applications to awards and performance reporting.  The Grants Manager directly supervises the Grant Analysts, oversees grant implementation, ensures compliance with grant regulations, identifies strategies to optimize the grant administration process, coordinates with other County departments to make sure proper Commissioners Court approvals are obtained, and keeps management informed about the overall state of HCSO grants.

Grant Analyst:  Under the general supervision of the Grants Manager, the Grant Analyst is responsible for all phases of the grant life cycle, serving as project lead for assigned HCSO grants.  The Grant Analyst reviews grant-funded purchases prior to issuance of a purchase order to ensure proposed expenditures are allowable under the grant award, works in collaboration with HCSO subject matter experts and granting agency personnel to ensure successful management of grant awards, works in collaboration with Project Managers to submit performance reports, and functions as the primary point of contact for assigned grants.

Project Manager: End user of a grant award.  The Project Manager is a subject matter expert responsible for the day-to-day operation of the grant project.   The Project Manager is responsible for: ensuring the project stays on schedule and within budget; tracking and providing all programmatic data required for performance reporting; submitting proposed grant expenditures to the Grant Analyst; keeping records of inventory purchased with grant funds; and informing the Grant Analyst of any significant changes to the project (e.g., turnover in the Project Manager, vacant grant positions, lost equipment, etc.) The Project Manager shall also create and maintain official grant files that comply with auditing requirements.

Shared Technology and Reporting System (STARS) Internet-based software that delivers a centralized financial database with budget forecasting, purchase orders, accounts payable, accounts receivable, fixed assets, human resources, and payroll. The software leverages technologies including Internet architecture, workflow systems, and integrated reporting.

Policy

The Grant Management Office will monitor and aid Project Managers throughout the full grant cycle, from the initial application, through the review process, and ultimately to a grant award and closeout. Once funds are awarded, the office will monitor the expenditure of funds and submit performance reports until the project is closed. [CALEA Standard 17.2.1]

Procedures

Description

All grants under the purview of the HCSO will be monitored by the Grant Management Office. Grants may be project-specific, such as the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), whereas other grants may have one or more individual projects, such as the Justice Assistance grants or Homeland Security grant programs. Each project shall have an assigned Project Manager. [CALEA Standards 17.2.2, 17.3.1, 17.4.1, 17.4.2, and 17.4.3]

Grant Management Office

Specific responsibilities of the Grant Management Office:

Compliance

  1. Conduct review of grant applications, interacting with project managers to ensure all supporting documentation is accurate, adequate, and consistent with regulations and policies.
  2. Ensure reports are submitted consistent with grant-specific requirements. Analyze financial reports. Identify problem areas, compliance issues, and work with staff to resolve any issues.
  3. Verify that purchase requests are consistent with the approved grant budget.
  4. Analyze requests for modifications to grant agreements’ terms and conditions and prepare formal amendments to agreements and grant adjustment notices.

Grant Records Management

  1. Manage grants system, including timely and accurate recording of organizational information, letters of inquiry, grant applications, grant awards, grant payments, and reporting requirements.
  2. Work with Auditor’s Office to enter grant awards in STARS
  3. Work with Purchasing / Payroll and Auditor’s Office on accurate recording of grants awarded and grant payments. Perform monthly reconciliation between the grants and the Purchasing / Payroll and Auditor’s Office’s grants payable records (STARS program).
  4. Vet and approve all encumbrance requests (purchase orders) and requests for travel or training against grant budgets.
  5. Create and maintain official electronic grant files that comply with auditing requirements.
  6. Ensure consistency of grant records to include:
    • Requests for proposal,
    • Contracts with vendors,
    • Application proposals,
    • Agreement letters,
    • Budget information,
    • Inventory where applicable,
    • Quarterly reports,
    • Audit findings and responses, and
    • All official correspondences.
  7. Maintain electronic folders for each grant for each year that grant is available.

Grants Management Processes

  1. Review requests for proposal for all grants considered.
  2. Review and provide assistance for all grants or component applications submitted by the HCSO.
  3. Monitor the application process to ensure grant request timelines are met.
  4. Submit grant application, award, and amendment documents to Commissioners Court for approval.
  5. Monitor requests for encumbrances to ensure all requests for grant funds are within the scope of the grant and the approved award.
  6. The Finance Office shall forward all requests for purchase orders, training and / or travel requests from grant funds to the Grant Management Office prior to approval or submission to Commissioners Court.
  7. The Grant Management Office will vet each request against the grant and the approved award to ensure requests are within the applicable grant budget.
  8. After approval is granted, held for further discussion or documentation, or denied, the request will be directed back to the Finance Office.
  9. All account transactions shall be captured in STARS.
  10. Monitor grant reporting requirements, including preparation of correspondence for submission of reports. Prepare documents for quarterly review and audits.
  11. Ensure close-out reports, to include programmatic progress and financial status reports, are submitted in a timely manner.
  12. Monitor close-out dates for all grants to ensure renewal dates are met for those grants that qualify.

Information and Guidance

  1. Provide grant monitoring policies, practices, and procedures.
  2. Provide and maintain resource materials and standard reports and templates.
  3. Participate in meetings with Project Managers as necessary to identify roles and responsibilities with respect to grant implementation.
  4. Convene periodic meetings of the Grants Committee, which functions as an advisory body for the Grant Management Office to identify department priorities.

Project Manager

A Project Manager will be assigned for each project within a grant.

Project Managers shall ensure consistency of project records to include:

  1. Information pertaining to progress and timeline issues:
  2. Payroll timesheets and daily activity logs for personnel paid through grant funds, including benefits information and travel, where applicable,
  3. Purchase order requests,
  4. Invoices,
  5. Current and accurate inventory where applicable,
  6. Quarterly report information,
  7. Insurance requirements, where applicable, and
  8. All other official correspondences.

Project Managers shall also be informed of any audits to be performed on their projects and shall be in charge of all preparations for the audits. The project Manager shall review the audit request and work with personnel to assure that all timesheets, documentation, actual equipment, or program locations are available to be reviewed by the auditors in an organized and efficient manner and that all grant equipment is properly tagged and correctly located.

Project Managers shall also work with auditors to provide any appropriate requested information and, in the event of unresolved findings, shall work to resolve such matters to allow a clean audit of the program. In the event of a lawsuit involving the project, the Project Managers shall work with the County Attorney’s Office to provide grant expertise, pertinent documentation, and facts regarding the grant and audit issues.

Project Managers shall also assure that all grant documentation is stored for the appropriate time period until a final audit is approved or a lawsuit is disposed, whichever is later. The manager may then request destruction of such records in accordance with federal and state laws.

The Grant Life Cycle

  1. Review the request for proposal
  2. Application submission
  3. Application review and approval
  4. Funding allocation
  5. Create STARS budget
  6. Project implementation
  7. Milestone and compliance review
  8. Grant close-out and audit
  9. Grant Inventory

Property with a unit cost of $5,000 or more will be recorded in the fixed asset module of STARS by the Purchasing Department and tagged with a white label.  Property with a unit cost of less than $5,000 will not be recorded in the STARS fixed asset module but will be tracked by HCSO’s quarter master inventory management system.  The Project Manager is responsible for ensuring that inventory records are accurate and up to date. 

In addition, the Project Manager must inform the Grant Management Office if grant-funded equipment is damaged, stolen, or missing.  The Project Manager must also inform the Grant Management Office prior to disposal of grant-funded equipment.

Additional information on policies and guidelines regarding the handling of property can be found in the Harris County Auditor’s Procedure A.1-1. 

Grant Inventory Labels: Minimum Standard

The Purchasing Department will affix labels to property with a unit cost of $5,000 or more.  HCSO shall be responsible for affixing labels on grant-funded property with a unit cost of less than $5,000.  The following is the minimum standard for grant inventory labels in order to comply with requirements for all grants. The components shown below are required:

HARRIS COUNTY [Department Name]   FY [Grant Year]

[Purchase Order Number]

PURCHASED WITH FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE

[Name of grantor]

Example:

JAG FY 2019

P123456

PURCHASED WITH FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ASSISTANCE

Notes:

  1. The size of the label can be varied as long as the information remains legible.
  2. Departments may add their logos on the right-hand side if desired.
  3. Labels should be of a durable nature suitable for the environment in which the equipment will be deployed.
  4. Items that will not facilitate a label may be marked with pen or permanent marker if applicable.
  5. If the item is too small or too numerous, contact the Grant Management Office for instructions, and annotate that information on the inventory log.

Revision

This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

August 30, 2012

November 5, 2020

December 22, 2020

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