Being the recipient of grant funding can be a great opportunity, but it can also be confusing due to the variety of requirements, special conditions, and reporting needs that must be met in order to satisfy the conditions of accepting the funds. This is particularly true of technology and information sharing grants. The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) employs special conditions on grants to help promote effective projects, coordinate with local and state agencies, and to take advantage of national consensus standards and best practices as needed. For example, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) applies the following special conditions to all relevant information sharing and technology grant awards:
- The recipient agrees to ensure that the State Information Technology Point of Contact receives written notification regarding any information technology project funded by this grant during the obligation and expenditure period. This is to facilitate communication among local and state governmental entities regarding various information technology projects being conducted with these grant funds. In addition, the recipient agrees to maintain an administrative file documenting the meeting of this requirement. For a list of State Information Technology Points of Contact, go to http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/funding.htm
Duplication of Networks - To avoid duplicating existing networks or IT systems in any initiatives funded by BJA for law enforcement information sharing systems which involve interstate connectivity between jurisdiction, such systems shall employ, to the extent possible, existing networks as the communication backbone to achieve interstate connectivity, unless the grantee can demonstrate to the satisfaction of BJA that this requirement would not be cost effective or would impair the functionality of an existing or proposed IT system.
Support Public Safety and Justice Information Sharing
- To support public safety and justice information sharing, OJP requires the grantee to use the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) specifications and guidelines for this particular grant. Grantee shall publish and make available without restriction all schemas generated as a result of this grant to the component registry as specified in the guidelines. For more information on compliance with this special condition, visit http://www.niem.gov/implementationguide.php
28 C.F.R. Part 23 - The recipient agrees that any information technology system funded or supported by OJP funds will comply with 28 C.F.R. Part 23, Criminal Intelligence Systems Operating Policies, if OJP determines this regulation to be applicable. Should OJP determine 28 C.F.R. Part 23 to be applicable, OJP may, at its discretion, perform audits of the system, as per 28 C.F.R. 23.20(g). Should any violation of 28 C.F.R. Part 23 occur, the recipient may be fined as per 42 U.S.C. 3789g(c)-(d). Recipient may not satisfy such a fine with federal funds.
The special condition for NIEM is of particular note because it has been adopted not only by the Office of Justice Programs, but also the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Conditions such as these serve to help coordinate activities and promote efficient use of Federal funds across grant-making organizations.
For the management and tracking of all grants, the Office of Justice Programs utilizes the Grants Management System (GMS). In addition, grant applications for OJP programs that are submitted to the government-wide portal Grants.gov are collected and processed in GMS. The GMS system is located at: https://grants.ojp.usdoj.gov/
For additional information on grant requirements and conditions, please refer to the website of the agency that provided the funds. For example, the Bureau of Justice Assistance has provided a Grantee Toolbox that brings together a wealth of information on grant management and reporting, available here: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/resource/toolbox.html