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subject to the criteria set forth in sections 4, 5, and 6.

c. Subsection 7(b) says:

The authority to make contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements for the conduct of basic or applied research at nonprofit institutions of higher education, or at nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is the conduct of scientific research shall include discretionary authority, when it is deemed by the head of the executive agency to be in furtherance of the objectives of the agency, to vest in such institutions or organizations, without further obligation to the government, or on such other terms and conditions as deemed appropriate, title to equipment or other tangible personal property purchased with such funds.

The Act repeals the Grants Act, Pub. L. 85-934, which authorized the use of grants for scientific research. This provision continues the authority of the Grants Act to vest title to equipment purchased with Federal funds in a nonprofit organization. It expands this authority to other classes of property and applies to procurement contracts and cooperative agreements as well as grants.



Nothing in this Act shall be construed to render void or voidable any existing contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other contract, grant, or cooperative agreement entered into up to one year after the date of enactment of this Act.

The legislative history clearly indicates that Congress intended this provision to provide one year for orderly implementation of sections 4, 5, and 6. The Act was signed February 3, 1978. Agencies have until February 3, 1979, to implement these sections in accordance with the OMB guidelines.

3. Interpretation of specific provisions of the Act. To promote consistency, agencies should interpret subsections 4(2), 7(a), and 7(b) of the Act as follows:

a. Subsection 4(2) allows the use of contracts "whenever an executive agency determines in a specific instance that the use of a type of procurement contract is appropriate.” The Senate Report on the Act says:

This subsection accommodates situations in which an agency determines the specific public needs can be satisfied best by using the procurement process. For example, subsection 4(2) would cover the two-step situation in which a Federal agency may procure medicines which it then “grants” to nonFederal hospitals. This subsection does not allow agencies to ignore sections 5 and 6. Compliance with the requirements of sections 4, 5, and 6 will necessitate deliberate and conscious agency determinations of the choice of instruments to be employed. (Italics added.)

Until the Federal Acquisition Regulation is published, the Federal Procurement Regulation, the Armed Services Procurement Regulation, and other procurement regulations authorized by law govern policy and procedures regarding procurement contracts awarded under the authority of this subsection. Section M of this guidance includes a reporting requirement for procurement transactions based on subsection 4(2).

b. Subsection 7(a) says:

Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, each executive agency authorized by law to enter into contracts, grant or cooperative agreements, or similar arrangements is authorized and directed to enter into and use types of contracts, grant agreements, or cooperative agreements as required by this Act.

If, prior to the passage of the Act, an agency was authorized to use one or more of the three instruments-procurement contracts, grants, or cooperative agreementsand is not prohibited from using any of them, this provision enables it to enter into any of the three types of arrangements,

1. Ba determinations. While one of the major objectives of the Act is to distinguish between procurement and assistance relationships, neither term is specifically defined. Section 4 requires use of a procurement contract when the principal purpose is acquisition, by purchase, lease, or barter, of property or services for the direct benefit or use of the Federal Government. Sections 5 and 6 require the use of grants or cooperative agreements when the principal purpose is the transfer of money, property, services, or anything of value to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute, rather than acquisition, by purchase, lease, or barter, of property or services for the direct benefit or use by the Federal Government.

Agencies should interpret the language of sections 5 and 6 which call for the use of grants or cooperative agreements to “accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute" as including but not restricted to traditional assistance transactions. Thus, for example, where an agency authorized to support or stimulate research decides to enter into a transaction where the principal purpose of the transaction is to stimulate or support research, it is authorized to use either a grant or a cooperative agreement. Conversely, if an agency is not authorized to stimulate or support research, or the principal purpose of a transaction funding research is to pro

duce something for the government's own use, a procurement transaction must be used. Until the Federal Acquisition Regulation is published, the Federal Procurement Regulation, the Armed Services Procurement Regulation, and other procurement regulations authorized by law govern policy and procedures regarding procurement contracts.

2. Assistance awards to for-profit organizations. Subject to the requirements of sections 4, 5, and 6 of the Act, assistance awards may be made to for-profit organizations when deemed by the agency to be consistent with legislative intent and program purposes.

3. When to decide on the use of procurement or assistance instruments. Any public notice, solicitation, or request for applications or proposals should indicate whether the intended relationship will be one of procurement or assistance.

4. What to do if the distinctions between procurement and assistance do not apply to a specific class of transactions. Agencies should make every effort to ensure their relationships conform with those specified in the Act. If, however, there are major individual transactions or programs which contain elements of both procurement and assistance, but which cannot be characterized as having a principal purpose of one or the other, an OMB exception should be requested. Sections I and J deal with OMB exceptions.

project, substantial Federal involvement is anticipated.

b. As a guide to making these determinations, anticipated substantial involvement during performance does not include:

(1) Agency approval of recipient plans prior to award.

(2) Normal exercise of Federal stewardship responsibilities during the project period such as site visits, performance reporting, financial reporting, and audit to insure that the objectives, terms, and conditions of the award are accomplished.

(3) Unanticipated agency involvement to correct deficiencies in project or financial performance from the terms of the assistance instrument.

(4) General statutory requirements understood in advance of the award such as civil rights, environmental protection, and provision for the handicapped.

(5) Agency review of performance after completion.

(6) General administrative requirements, such as those included in OMB Circulars A21, A-95, A-102, A-110, and FMC 74-4.

c. Conversely, anticipated involvement during performance would exist and, depending on the circumstances, could be substantial, where the relationship includes, for example:

(1) Agency power to immediately halt an activity if detailed performance specifications (e.g., construction specifications) are not met. These would be provisions that go beyond the suspension remedies of the Federal Government for nonperformance as in OMB Circulars A-102 and A-110.

(2) Agency review and approval of one stage before work can begin on a subsequent stage during the period covered by the assistance instrument.

(3) Agency review and approval of substantive provisions of proposed subgrants or contracts. These would be provisions that go beyond existing policies on Federal review of grantee procurement standards and sole source procurement.

(4) Agency involvement in the selection of key recipient personnel. (This does not include assistance instrument provisions for the participation of a named principal investigator for research projects.)

(5) Agency and recipient collaboration of joint participation.

(6) Agency monitoring to permit specified kinds of direction or redirection of the work because of interrelationships with other projects.

(7) Substantial, direct agency operational involvement or participation during the assisted activity is anticipated prior to award to insure compliance with such statutory requirements as civil rights, environmental protection, and provision for the handicapped. Such participation would exceed



1. Anticipated substantial involvement during performance. The basic statutory criterion for distinguishing between grants and cooperative agreements is that for the latter, "substantial involvement is anticipated between the executive agency and the recipient during performance of the contemplated activity” (emphasis added). To insure consistent determinations, all agencies should use only this criterion when deciding to use either a grant or a cooperative agreement.

a. Anticipated substantial Federal involvement is a relative rather than an absolute concept. The examples that follow in “b” and “c” are not meant to be a checklist or to be considered as individual determinants. Rather, they are to illustrate the general policy that:

(1) When the terms of an assistance instrument indicate the recipient can expect to run the project without agency collaboration, participation, or intervention as long as it is run in accordance with the terms of the assistance instrument, substantial involvement is not anticipated.

(2) When the instrument indicates the recipient can expect agency collaboration or participation in the management of the

strument that best suits each transaction. Agencies should insure that all transactions covered by the Act are consistent with their basic policy decisions for each program.



that normally anticipated under (b)(4), above.

(8) Highly prescriptive agency requirements prior to award limiting recipient discretion with respect to scope of services of. fered, organizational structure, staffing, mode of operation, and other management processes, coupled with close agency monitoring or operational involvement during performance over and above the normal exercise of Federal stewardship responsibilities to ensure compliance with these requirements.

2. OMB policy on substantial involvement. Agencies should limit Federal involvement in assisted activities to the minimum consistent with program requirements. Nothing in this Act should be construed as authorizing agencies to increase their involvement beyond that authorized by other statutes.

3. How technical assistance and guidance relate to substantial involvement. The practice of some agencies of providing technical assistance, advice, or guidance to recipients of financial assistance does not constitute substantial involvement if:

a. It is provided at the request of the recipient, or,

b. The recipient is not required to follow it, or;

c. The recipient is required to follow it, but it is provided prior to the start of the assisted activity and the recipie understood this prior to the financial assistance award.

4. What to do if grants or cooperative agreements do not fit program requirements. There may be a few cases of assistance programs covered by section 5 or 6 of the Act where neither a grant nor a cooperative agreement is suitable. In such cases, an OMB exception should be requested in accordance with sections I and J below.

5. Competition for assistance awards. Consistent with the purposes of Pub. L. 95224, agencies are encouraged to maximize competition among all types of recipients in the award of grants or cooperative agreements, in consonance with program purposes.

Present administrative requirements such as OMB Circulars A-95, A-102, and A-110 apply to both grants and cooperative agreements involving the transfer of Federal funds. Some of these administrative requirements apply to specific classes of recipients such as State and local governments. This guidance does not extend the coverage of these requirements to instruments with other recipient classes such as for-profit organizations. These administrative requirements will not apply to General Revenue Sharing or Anti-Recession Fiscal Assistance Grants administered by the Treasury Department.

Each assistance instrument must provide that the head of the assisting agency and the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, shall have access to any books, documents, papers, and records of the recipient and their subgrantees which are pertinent to the transaction for the purpose of making audits, examination, excerpts, and transcripts.

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1. Increasing Federal involvement during a grant period. At times an agency may find it necessary to increase the involvement in a grant-funded project during the period of time covered by the grant. This could happen, for example, when standard grant reports or monitoring indicates some sort of problem. If this occurs, agencies should not view the Act as restricting their authority to intervene as necessary to bring the project into conformance with original intentions. Agencies should not, however, seek to become substantially involved in a long term or ongoing grant-funded activity without converting the grant instrument to a cooperative agreement following negotiation with the recipient.



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The determinations of whether a program is principally one of procurement or assistance, and whether substantial Federal involvement in performance will normally occur are basic agency policy decisions. Agency heads should insure that these general decisions for each program are either made or reviewed at a policy level. A determination that a program is principally one of procurement or assistance does not preclude the use of any of the types of instruments when appropriate for a particular transaction. Congress intended the Act to allow agencies flexibility to select the in

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involvement in the performance of the assisted project.

b. Other programs may use grants or cooperative agreements, depending on the nature of the project or the abilities of the recipients. For example:

(1) Some projects may start out as cooperative agreements in the first year and be converted to grants after recipient capacity has been established.

(2) Other projects, initially funded as grants, may have to be renewed or continued for subsequent budget periods as cooperative agreements if there is a need to revise the project, upgrade recipient capacity, or protect the Federal interest.

2. Statement of Federal involvement. Each cooperative agreement should include an explicit statement of the nature, character, and extent of anticipated Federal involvement. These statements must be developed with care to avoid unnecessarily increasing Federal liability under the assistance instrument.

1. General. Section 10(d) authorizes the Director of OMB to:

Except individual transactions or programs of any executive agency from the application of the provisions of this Act. This authority shall expire one year after receipt by the Congress of the study provided for in section 8 of this Act.

Agencies are advised that, unless otherwise indicated, OMB exceptions will run through January 1981.

2. Exceptions provided in this guidance. Section H3 of this guidance excepts nonmonetary grants.

Other exceptions under the Act. Agencies are required to conform with sections 4, 5, and 6 of the Act. Where severe disruption to a program or serious consequences to recipients would result, a request for exceptions should be made to OMB. OMB intends to grant additional exceptions only on the basis of agency requests that include strong justifications and an indication of the harm that will result if an exception is not granted. Section J below indicates the procedures agencies should follow in requesting exceptions.

4. Waiver of administrative standards. OMB is responsible for most of the administrative standards that apply to assistance programs. Agencies should follow these standards. The circulars that establish these standards presently provide procedures for granting of waivers. If the standards appear unsuitable to a particular situation, requests for waivers should be sent to the OMB office responsible for the circular or the responsible agency if not OMB (e.g., for GSA uniform relocation provisions). Requests for waivers to financial management circulars administered by OMB should be addressed to John Lordan, Chief, Financial Management Branch, OMB, Room 6002, NEOB, Washington, D.C. 20503.



1. Types of assistance included. Sections 5 and 6 apply to transactions that transfer "property, services, or anything of value," which could include consultation, technical services, information, and data. This section of the guidance applies to agencies and programs that provide such types of nonmonetary assistance apart from fund transfers.

2. Applicability of administrative standards. Section E above stated that existing administrative standards (e.g., OMB Circulars A-95, A-102, A-110) apply to grants and cooperative agreements involving the transfer of funds.

Agencies are encouraged, however, to use these standards where appropriate, and in some cases, their use is required for nonmonetary transfers. For example, a donation of a substantial parcel of land to a local government is the type of Federal action covered by Part II of A-95, but other administrative standards may not apply.

3. OMB exception for nonmonetary assistance. OMB exempts programs and transactions providing nonmonetary assistance from the provisions of section 5 of the Act. Existing agency practices for providing nonmonetary assistance where no Federal involvement in the assisted activity is anticipated should continue. Thus a formal grant instrument is not required to provide surplus property, consultation, or data. Where substantial Federal involvement in the assisted activity is anticipated, however, a cooperative agreement is required as indicated in section 6 of the Act. Agencies engaged in the provision of nonmonetary assistance will be asked to report on these activities under section M below.


A request for an OMB exception under this Act should be addressed to Deputy Associate Director for Intergovernmental Affairs, Room 9025, NEOB, Washington, D.C. 20503. It should include:

1. A statement on whether the exception is requested for a complete program or an individual transaction.

2. An explanation of why an exception is requested, including statutory, agency policy, or other reasons.

3. A statement of what the agency will do if an exception is not granted and what the implications would be if this action were taken.

4. An indication of how the agency will handle the situation if the OMB exception expires before there are any changes to either this Act or agency statutes.

problems has the Act presented that can be expected to continue?



Subsection 10(c) of the Act specifically provides for projects funded under the Joint Funding Simplification Act that include more than one type of assistance relationship. Thus a project with some components funded by grants and others by cooperative agreements is entirely permissible. Agencies should view this Act as providing the opportunity and authority to participate in joint funded projects in any number of funding relationships to serve the best interests of the participating agencies programs.


Both Congress and OMB view this Act as a preliminary step toward long-range overhaul of Federal assistance activities. The requirement for agencies to implement sections 4, 5, and 6 in one year is, in large part, to begin the systematic gathering of data about Federal assistance relationships. Agencies should anticipate that congressional committees, the General Accounting Office, and OMB will be asking extensive questions about the effects of implementing these sections. While the questions may vary from agency to agency, they can reasonably be expected to deal with operating experience for a year or more after full implementation. Agencies should develop systems of records that would allow them to answer questions such as:

1. How many financial grants have been awarded in accordance with section 5 of the Act? What was the dollar volume and what classes of recipients were involved (e.g., State governments, universities, hospitals, individuals)?

2. For which programs did the agency decide to use grants exclusively? Why?

3. How many financial assistance cooperative agreements have been awarded in accordance with section 6 of the Act? What was the dollar volume and what classes of recipients were involved?

4. For which programs did the agency decide to use cooperative agreements exclusively? What are the nature and reason for the agency involvement?

5. For which programs were both grants and cooperative agreements used? What were the criteria for determining the instrument used?

6. What types of nonmonetary assistance transfers were made as grants? What types as cooperative agreements?

7. What was the agency's experience in implementing sections 4, 5, and 6? How did it contribute to improve projects, management, or intergovernmental relations? What

M. OMB REPORTING REQUIREMENTS The experience of the agencies in making decisions necessary to implement sections 4,

and 6 of the Act will be important to the study required by section 8. In addition, to the more general questions about the feasibility of a comprehensive system of guidance for assistance activities, the report to Congress must include a summary of the effects of sections 4, 5, and 6. For these reasons, agencies are to provide by March 1, 1979, a report to OMB that includes the following:

1. Distinguishing between procurement and assistance:

a. For what types of activities did the agency have troubie making the distinction between procurement and assistance? Why?

b. On what basis were the issues resolved? 2. Use of procurement contracts:

a. What activities formerly funded through grants or other assistance instruments will now be handled with procurement contracts?

b. What is the anticipated dollar volume of these procurement contracts?

c. What is expected to be the impact of this shift on the agency?

d. Who will be the principal recipients of these contracts?

e. What is expected to be the impact on the recipients?

f. What use was made of the subsection 4(2) procurement provisions? Explain any uses other than those following the two-step example in the legislative history.

3. Agency decisions on when to use grants or cooperative agreements:

a. Describe the process by which the agency decided which programs would use:

(1) Only grants.
(2) Only cooperative agreements.

(3) Both grants and cooperative agreements.

b. Which programs, as listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, will fall into each of the above three categories? For those in category 3 what is the expected mix in terms of total dollars and numbers of transactions?

c. What programs not listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance will fall into each of the three categories? For those in category 3 what is the expected mix in terms of total dollars and numbers of transactions?

d. What is the anticipated first-year dollar volume of the programs in each of the three categories?

e. What types of Federal involvement in the assisted activity led to the identification of programs that would use only cooperative agreements?

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