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Competition Requirements for Grants Policy

Frequently Asked Questions


May 2018

Q1 If the OMB guidance says that State agencies who receive a grant from a federal agency are
supposed to follow their procurement rules, why am I being told to follow the Competition
Requirements for Grants Policy instead of the Procurement Code?

A1 Due to changes in the Procurement Modernization Initiative (HB 17-1051), Grants were
exempted from the Procurement Code effective August 9, 2017. The OSC developed the
Competition Requirements for Grants Policy and Technical Guidance to provide direction to
State Agencies in regards to Grants.

Q2 Is the Competition Requirements for Grants Policy mandatory or do State Agencies have the
option to create their own grant policy?

A2 The Competition Requirements for Grants Policy is mandatory for all competitive grants
therefore State Agencies are required to follow the OSC Grant Policy (effective August 9,
2017).

Q3 The terminology in the Competition Requirements for Grant Policy and Technical Guidance is
confusing. Do I have to use these terms in my department’s grant agreements?

A3 The terms used within the Competition Requirements for Grants Policy and Technical
Guidance match the terms used in the Grant Agreement template found on the State
Purchasing & Contracts Office (SPCO) website. Departments should begin using the
terminology found within the Competition Requirements for Grants Policy and Technical
Guidance to avoid confusion and for consistency within the State.

Q4 Are the terms “grant agreement” and “grant contract” synonymous?

A4 No, these terms are not synonymous. In keeping with the Competition Requirements for
Grants Policy and Technical Guidance, grants defined under that policy are not contracts.
Entities following the grant policy are asked to use the same language/definitions defined
within the policy. OMB draws a clear distinction between contracts and grants and the OSC
no longer recognizes the term grant contract.

Q5 Why aren’t terms defined in the technical guidance?

A5 The Competition Requirements for Grants Policy defines terms used in both the policy and
the technical guidance. A statement exists within the technical guidance that reads: “All
terms used in this technical guidance that are defined in the Policy shall have the meanings
ascribed to them in the Policy.”

Q6 How are emergency grant funds addressed by this policy (i.e. Applicants requesting funds for
an emergency outside of the normal funding cycle)?

A6 First, one must determine whether the emergency meets the definition of grant or contract.
If a grant, it is assumed competition is not required under the Competition Requirements for
Grants Policy and Technical Guidance. If a contract, the Procurement Code must be
followed and addresses emergency procurements.

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Q7 When do I use a grant and when do I use a contract?

A7 A contract is used for exchange transactions where the contractor is delivering goods or
services provided for the direct benefit of the State. Grants are considered non-exchange
transactions whereas the awarding agency transfers funds to carry out a public purpose
authorized by law. (See the Definitions in section 1 of the policy. Also, use the Subrecipient
versus Contractor Determination Tool available on the OSC website
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/osc/omb-guidance.)

Q8 What delegation is needed in order to delegate the authority and responsibility for awarding
competitive grants?

A8 The OSC recognizes two different delegations: Controller delegation and Procurement
Delegation. The State Controller delegates authority to sign and execute contracts. While
the Executive Director of DPA has the authority to delegate purchasing processes and
responsibilities, this responsibility has been delegated to the Chief Procurement Officer who
sub-delegates the authority to departments. Both of these delegations may be required for
awarding competitive grants so check with your procurement official.

Q9 Do state funded grant recipients (grantees) have to follow any specific policies or procedures
when spending their grant funds?

A9 Grantees must follow the Competition Requirements for Grants Policy and Technical
Guidance (See Level 2 in Appendix 1 of Competition Requirements for Grants Technical
Guidance).

Q10 What remedies are available to the Subrecipient if federal funds are used but the federal
program is silent on the remedies process?

A10 If the federal award is silent on the remedies method then the Applicant should send their
appeal to the Procurement Official of the State Agency making the award(s). (See section
titled Remedies in the Competition Requirements for Grants Technical Guidance.)
The remedies available in the Procurement Code do not apply to grants.

Q11 If a department’s current grant program has a board by statute that makes policies and
funding decisions regarding grant awards, does the Procurement Official really have any role
in the awarding of a grant?

A11 The Procurement Official should be made aware within the departments of any boards that
are conducting the competitive processes.

Q12 Do all federal agencies follow the Uniform Guidance?

A12 Yes, the Uniform Guidance (UG) is intended to be a government-wide framework for grants
management however some federal agency grant programs may be exempt in part from the
UG or they may have additional requirements beyond those identified in the UG.

Q13 What if a board does not have statutory authority but it is the process that has always been
followed within a department regarding how grant awards have been made? Does the
Procurement Official still have to conduct the competitive process or can the board be
delegated to continue acting as it has been? Can a board be delegated by the Procurement
Official or does a delegation have to go to a person? Does the person delegated have to be
an employee of the state?

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A13 The department Procurement Official may delegate the competitive process to a board. The
board must be in compliance with the Competition Requirements for Grants Policy and
Technical Guidance. (See section 5 titled Conducting the Competitive Process in the
Competition Requirements for Grants Policy.)

Q14 If grants are exempted from the procurement code, why does the Competition Requirements
for Grants Policy refer to the Procurement Official as the person authorized to conduct a
competitive process?

A14 The grant policy states that the Procurement Official shall conduct the competitive process
unless otherwise specified by law (i.e., statutory authority given to a board) or the
Procurement Official has delegated the authority and responsibility of conducting the
competitive process to other individuals (such as program staff and/or grant managers). The
Procurement Official is the subject matter expert on procurement and would likely be
involved in the resulting purchase order or Grant Agreement. The Procurement Official
should be made aware within the departments of any boards that are conducting the
competitive processes. (See section 5 titled Conducting the Competitive Process in the
Competition Requirements for Grants Policy.)