GREAT Act

The Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act of 2017 (H.R. 4887) - Open Data to Modernize Federal Grant Reporting

Overview

The GREAT Act (H.R. 4887) will transform federal grant reporting from disconnected documents into open data by directing the executive branch to adopt a standardized data structure for the information grantees must report to agencies. By replacing outdated documents with open data, the GREAT Act will deliver transparency for grantmaking agencies and the public and allow grantees to automate their reporting processes, reducing compliance costs.

Watch

At Data Transparency 2017, on September 26th, 2017, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx announced that she will introduce legislation to adopt a government-wide open data structure for all federal grant reporting. Watch here full remarks below.

FAQ

Policy Agenda

About

The GREAT Act (H.R. 4887) requires the creation of a comprehensive and standardized data structure, or “taxonomy”, covering all data elements reported by recipients of federal awards, including both grant and cooperative agreements. The proposed legislation tasks the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and a leading grant agency with implementation.
  • Within one year: Establish government-wide data standards for information related to federal awards reported by recipients of federal awards.
  • Within two years: Issue guidance to grantmaking agencies on how to leverage new technologies and implement the new data standards into existing reporting practices with minimum disruption.
The bill directs OMB and a leading grant agency to publish grant reporting information, once transformed into open data, on a government-wide website, such as the existing grants.gov portal. It provides exceptions and restrictions, including:
  • No personally-identifiable or otherwise sensitive information will be published.
  • Information not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (Title 5, Section552) will not be publicly disclosed.
  • The OMB Director to permit exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, it would require each grantmaking agency to begin collecting grant reports using the new data standards within three years.

Benefits

  1. Reduce recipient compliance costs by automating the compilation and submission of reports to federal agencies.
  2. Creates a single consolidated data set of federal grant receipts information.
  3. Fosters increased federal oversight and transparency into the distribution of federal funding
  4. Facilitates the adoption of modern technologies such as blockchain.

The GREAT Act would require the creation of a comprehensive and standardized data structure (“taxonomy”) covering all reported federal grant and assistance data.

Resources

  • The full bill text – H.R. 4887
  • One page GREAT Act summary
  • Data Foundation November 2017 report on grant modernization: “Transforming Federal Grant Reporting: Open the Data, Reduce Compliance Costs, and Deliver Transparency”
  • Federal News Radio September 2017 news report on Rep. Virginia Foxx’s announcement of forthcoming legislation: “Rep. Foxx planning ‘GREAT’ legislation to standardize grant data”
  • Data Coalition August 2017 blog post summarizing the OMB Section 5 pilot report: “White House’s DATA Act report: Standardized Data is Needed to Modernize Federal Grant Reporting – But Not Contract Reporting
  • Office of Management and Budget August 2017 “Report to Congress: DATA Act Pilot Program