In the final days of the Trump administration, the Office of Management and Budget officially designated the fourth and final Quality Service Management Office, or QSMO, under the administration’s big shared services push.
The administration announced the Health and Human Services Department will lead the grants management service area, which includes grant program administration and oversight; grants management pre-award, at award, post-award and during closeout; and grant recipient oversight, according to a release issued Monday.
As the lead office, HHS will be responsible for creating a “marketplace” for grants management services and standards to be used by the rest of government. While past efforts have focused on multiple agencies offering their individual services to other federal departments and programs, the QSMO initiative looks to centralize expertise in single agencies that will be required to host a variety of offerings.
Those offerings will include full-service grants management for agencies that want to take advantage of HHS’s established expertise in this area, as well as a contract with pre-screened vendors to purchase services from and a set of governmentwide standards for programs that want to go it alone.
“HHS looks forward to partnering with our stakeholders to improve the user experience and service quality for applicants, recipients and agencies,” HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan said in Monday’s release. “The grants QSMO builds on the HHS ReInvent Grants Management Initiative envisioned in 2017 as part of ReImagine HHS and our work to support the President’s Management Agenda and the administration’s vision for modernizing the federal government.”
While the initiative kicked off in April 2019 with the same four agencies leading the way, OMB required each potential QSMO to put together a full implementation plan before getting the official lead designation.
The Homeland Security Department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, was named the cybersecurity QSMO in April 2020, followed in June by the designation of the General Services Administration as lead for human services—HR and payroll—and the Treasury Department for accounting services.
“By designating HHS as the grants QSMO, the grants community should receive efficiencies in the offerings in the marketplace that will drive improved customer experience and satisfaction,” Federal CIO Basil Parker said.
Parker noted grants is the only QSMO of the four that work directly with the public—the other three focus on internal government operations.
“Modernizing and leveraging shared grant solutions across the government should improve the user experience and service quality for the grants community and the federal government,” he said.