NB_440_22_1 - NB 440-22-1 PGM – FY 2022 Conservation Innovation Grants Matching Funds Audits
NB 440-22-1 PGM – FY 2022 Conservation Innovation Grants Matching Funds Audits
National Bulletin: 440-22-1 Date: October 1, 2021
Subject: PGM – FY 2022 Conservation Innovation Grants Matching Funds Audits


  
 
Purpose.   To provide updated guidance to State NRCS offices on the annual Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) matching funds verification auditing process and requirement to initiate matching funds audits for State CIG projects in fiscal year 2022.    
 
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2022 
 
Background.   In 2018, the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit report analyzing NRCS controls over CIG. Recommendation four in the report required NRCS to establish policies and procedures to verify grantee and third-party matching contributions obtained and used as part of CIG projects. The annual match requirement was memorialized for the CIG National and State components in the Conservation Innovation Grants Program Manual (Manual Part 526: NRCS Grants, Subpart B, Conservation Innovation Grants.) This bulletin provides additional guidance and outlines the actions required by NRCS State offices to carry out CIG matching funds audits.     
 
Explanation.   State and National CIG Classic grants require grantees to match NRCS funding by at least 50 percent of total project cost (a 1:1 match of federal funds) unless otherwise stipulated in the agreement. NRCS requires grantees to report matching funds expenditures on their annual Standard Form (SF)-425, “Federal Financial Report,” and to maintain auditable documentation of matching funds expenditures.

 

Guidance: Each year, every State with active CIG projects must audit a single project. If a State awards two or fewer projects per year for back-to-back competition years, or does not hold a competition in a year following award of two or fewer projects, they may select a single project for auditing once during those 2 years. No project that successfully passes an audit should be audited more than once. The process for selecting the project to audit should be based on a risk review and relative ranking of existing projects using the questions in attachment A. If projects are ranked equally after risk review, one project should be randomly selected from a State’s active projects. State CIG staff must request matching funds documentation (auditable records—see attachment B) from the selected grantee. Once the documentation is collected, State CIG staff must submit an “Other Requests” ServiceNow ticket with the documentation attached to initiate the audit. When the Grants and Agreements Division (GAD) has concluded the audit, GAD staff will communicate the audit results to State NRCS staff, who will transmit the results to the grantee and address any needed remedial action.

Roles/Responsibilities:

 

State Offices:

 

  • Conduct a risk review for current CIG projects using the guidance in Attachment A.

  • Contact awardee selected for audit and request auditable documents.

  • Upload all auditable documents to a Service Now “Other Requests” ticket by June 30, 2022; include the text “State CIG FY22 Match Audit” in the Description field.

  • Inform awardee of the final audit results and take corrective action if needed.

  • Report planned and completed audits to NHQ per instructions provided in the annual State CIG reporting requirements bulletin.

 

NHQ: 

  • Issue annual reminders and guidance to States regarding audit requirement.

  • Maintain a record of State audits planned and conducted.

 

Grants & Agreements Division (GAD):

 

 

  • Complete the audit of documents supplied by August 30, 2022.

  • Contact awardees during the audit to request any additional information needed.

  • Supply states with the results of their audits by the end of each fiscal year (September 30, 2022).

  • Supply NHQ with the results of all state CIG audits by the end of each fiscal year (September 30, 2022).

 
Contact.   Submit questions about this bulletin to the CIG inbox at nrcscig@usda.gov.     
 
 

 /s/

JIMMY BRAMBLETT
Deputy Chief for Programs      
 

Attachment A—CIG Risk Review Questionnaire

Attachment B— Guidance on Auditable Records

Attachment C - Awardee Email Templates for Audits     

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