NB_440_22_29 - NB 440-22-29 PGM – RCPP14 Project Management Amendments and Additional Funds Requests
NB 440-22-29 PGM – RCPP14 Project Management Amendments and Additional Funds Requests
National Bulletin: 440-22-29 
Date: September 20, 2022 
Subject: PGM – RCPP14 Project Management Amendments and Additional Funds Requests 

Purpose.  This bulletin outlines steps for processing partnership agreement amendments and additional fund requests related to RCPP14 projects. This Bulletin also highlights differences in project management which apply to projects with active partnership agreements, and those where partnership agreement is expired or project status is completed, terminated, cancelled, or withdrawn (no longer active), and yet covered program responsibilities persist. 
Expiration Date.  September 30, 2023 
Background.  RCPP14 project management processes described herein apply to all projects, regardless of whether partnership agreement was a Cooperative Agreements (CAs) or a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU).

Processes for managing projects vary based on partnership agreement status. Accordingly, processes are presented sequentially as indicated in headers below.

If the partnership agreement is active:
Each active FB14 RCPP project is managed by a NRCS Lead State in collaboration with a lead partner per the partnership agreement. Proposed partnership agreement amendments are drafted and submitted by the lead state with lead partner input, undergo Financial Assistance Division (FAPD) Projects Branch Program Office review (PO review), and generally require Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Business Center’s Grants and Agreements Division (GAD) processing to finalize.

State Conservationists are responsible for ensuring that PO reviews are obtained, concerns are fully addressed as amendments are processed, and completed amendments are fully documented both in the portal and GAD records.

If the partnership agreement is no longer active, but project-specific covered program responsibilities persist and potentially warrant additional funding:
If a partnership agreement is no longer active, amendment of the agreement is impossible, and allowable changes to the project are very limited. However, States may request additional funds address needs associated with covered program awards obligated during the term of the project.

Explanation.  Projects with Active Partnership Agreements
Attachment A of this bulletin is the RCPP amendment checklist. When an amendment to an active PPA is proposed, the lead State must complete this checklist, and attach it to the RCPP project agreement record as part of an “inquiry” to initiate PO review. Attachment B of this bulletin illustrates the workflow for processing proposed amendments. Attachment C of this bulletin provides guidance on how to submit a proposed amendment as an “Inquiry” in the Portal.
The checklist is comprised of four sections.

1. The General Information section helps states identify project changes that should not be included in an amendment request (e.g., Adjusted Gross Income waivers or Adjustments of Terms).
2. In the Financial Questions section, States must identify if the amendment includes a request for additional funds, a swap of existing funds with a different type of funds from the NHQ reserve, or transfer of funds between states. (Note: on multi-state projects, if amendment would affect a partner state’s funding in any way, the lead state must include email from affected partner state(s) supporting proposed changes.)
3. The Schedule and Scope Questions section helps distinguish in-scope changes vs out-of-scope changes (which are rarely approved). Changes to deliverables should be submitted in the format used in the original agreement (Statement of Work, WBS, or for FY 2018 projects within the portal).
4. The State Recommendation is used to provide any additional information and to document the Lead State’s recommended approval for the amendment.

Note: In addition to checklist, the lead state is responsible for ensuring that draft Portal submission includes updates to all portions of the agreement affected by potential amendment (deliverables, scope of work, plan of work, budget etc.). Based on user inputs, the checklist auto-generates guidance on most commonly required supporting documentation. RCPP review will be delayed by incomplete submissions. States are strongly encouraged to fully review the original agreement and ensure that all affected elements of partnership agreement have been addressed.
Projects Branch staff reviews the proposed amendment and either provides concurrence or notifies the lead state of policy issues. PO may provide “conditional concurrence,” which requires lead states to implement PO conditions but does not require resubmission to Projects Branch unless additional changes occur.
RCPP concurrence will identify next steps in addressing proposed amendment. Options may include:
A. No amendment required; or,
B. Where RCPP PO reviews supports potential use of a Memorandum to the Record (MFR), a state may elect to complete the amendment via MFR; or,
C. Where PO review indicates the need for formal amendment, states are responsible for pursuing and completing amendment per GAD processes. In addition to standard GAD checklist and standard supporting materials required by GAD, the state must include a copy of the RCPP amendment checklist with ServiceNow submission to GAD.  Formal amendments are typically required if 1) there is any change to agreement elements listed on ADS-93 (term, obligation amount, budget categories, fund types obligated), or 2) there are material changes to deliverables, including contributions (GAD records need to correctly reflect total FA, TA and contribution expectations). See Attachment D for list Projects Branch uses in evaluating necessity of formal GAD amendment.

After Projects Branch concurrence, additional funds will be provided to states to support partnership agreement amendments. Timing of additional fund allocations is based on the planned method of obligation of additional funds as described below:
• Partnership agreement itself will obligate funds (note--GAD will require funds availability certification): Funds will be moved to lead state shortly after PO concurrence. For most projects, only partner use TA funds are obligated through the partnership agreement. If a partnership agreement will obligate other funds, state must notify RCPP team in amendment checklist of atypical FA obligation needs, and the partnership agreement must include appropriate covered program language to ensure integrity of FA deliverables.
• Funds budgeted not obligated in partnership agreement (Funds availability certification not required): Funds will be transferred to state(s) only after the amendment has been fully processed, and copies provided to RCPP.
After the lead State (and GAD as applicable) complete amendment, the State is responsible for uploading the amendment to the Programs Portal (see Attachment C for instructions), ensuring all Portal fields are updated as appropriate (e.g., state to add “updated agreement expiration date” to Portal if it changes during amendment). Additionally: if RCPP authorizes, and state elects to use an MFR, State also responsible for ensuring GAD has copy of state executed MFR.
Project Partnership Agreement Is No Longer Active

If a partnership agreement is expired, or project status is “completed, terminated, cancelled, or withdrawn” the partnership agreement is considered no longer active. Very limited changes are allowed to an RCPP project once its PPA is no longer active. Additional funding requests can be considered if funds are available and necessary to enable NRCS to fulfill responsibilities associated with a covered program award executed during term of PPA. Examples include funds needed to support an in-scope cost overrun on an active RCPP-EQIP contract, or funds needed to address unmet RCPP-WRE restoration needs.

Such funding requests must be submitted via FAPD Share Point, Lists section, Funds Assessment module. At a minimum, request should include: 1) covered program name 2) contract number of covered program award 3) amount of funding needed 4) basis for additional funds request (e.g., cost overrun), and documentation (by state) that addition of funds is consistent with project scope and 5) WBS(s) where funds would be added.

Contact.  Please direct questions on this bulletin to the Program Questions section of the FAPD SharePoint


Acting Deputy Chief for Programs

Attachment A – RCPP Partnership Amendment Checklist
Attachment B – RCPP Amendment Processing Workflow
Attachment C – Portal Instructions for Submitting an RCPP Project Inquiry
Attachment D – Criteria Affecting Need for Formal GAD Amendment 
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