DATA Act Updates

Posted on Dec 5, 2014 in Featured, Latest

March 22, 2019: DATA ACT-OMB Needs to Formalize Data Governance for Reporting Federal Spending (GAO-19-284)
The DATA Act includes a provision for GAO to report on the implementation and use of data standards, and on the quality of the data reported using those standards. This report (1) describes the status of OMB’s and Treasury’s efforts to establish policies and procedures for governing data standards; and (2) evaluates the extent to which procedures for changing established data standards are consistent with key practices for data governance.

May 2017: Two Reports Released on Implementation of DATA Act
Two new reports were recently released on implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) as the first major deadline for the bill approaches.
The first report issued May 2017, entitled “Data Act 2022: Changing Technology, Changing Culture,”  interviewed 20 DATA Act stakeholders to illuminate an ambitious vision for the transformation of federal spending and identified two key challenges the fall into two broad categories: cultural and technical.
The second report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office on April 26, 2017, “DATA Act: Office of Inspector General Reports Help Identify Agencies’ Implementation Challenges,” examines federal agency readiness reviews conducted by the Offices of Inspector General for 30 agencies. These reviews found that there were varying expectations for agencies’ readiness to meet the DATA Act requirements, and cited continued challenges related to systems integration and lack of resources.

December 8, 2016: GAO-17-156 “Data Act: OMB and Treasury Have Issued Additional Guidance and Have Improved Pilot Design but Implementation Challenges Remain”
Why GAO Did This Study: “Effective implementation of the DATA Act will allow federal funds to be better tracked and greatly increase the types of data made publicly available. OMB and Treasury have taken significant steps to implement the act, but challenges remain as the critical deadline of May 2017 approaches. Consistent with GAO’s mandate under the act, this report is one in a series of products GAO will provide to Congress providing oversight of DATA Act implementation. This report examines (1) steps taken to establish a clear data governance structure which is important during the upcoming transition to a new administration, (2) challenges reported by major agencies in their implementation plan updates, (3) the operationalization of government-wide data standards and technical specifications for data reporting, and (4) updated designs for the Section 5 pilot for reducing recipient reporting burden and progress made in its implementation. GAO reviewed key implementation documents, compared the Section 5 Pilot to leading practices, and interviewed staff at OMB, Treasury, and other selected agencies.”

December 8, 2016: GAO Testimony before the Subcommittee on Government Operations, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives: “Data Act: Implementation Progresses but Challenges Remain”
Why GAO Did This Study: “The DATA Act requires OMB and Treasury to establish government-wide data standards and requires federal agencies to begin reporting financial and payment data in accordance with these standards by May 2017. The act also requires establishment of a pilot program to develop recommendations for simplifying federal award reporting for grants and contracts. Consistent with GAO’s mandate under the act, the report being released today is one in a series that GAO will provide to the Congress. This statement discusses steps taken by OMB, Treasury, and federal agencies to implement the act and highlights key findings and the recommendation from GAO’s report (GAO-17-156). As part of this work, GAO reviewed DATA Act implementation plan updates and interviewed staff at OMB, Treasury, and other selected agencies.”

July 29, 2016: GAO Report “Data Act: Improvements Needed in Reviewing Agency Implementation Plans and Monitoring Progress”
What GAO Found: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) have not designed and implemented controls or fully documented processes related to the review and use of agency implementation plans for the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). These controls and processes are to be used for reviewing agencies’ implementation plans and monitoring agencies’ progress against these plans.

April 19, 2016: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing “Data Act: Monitoring Implementation Progress
PURPOSE: To examine the Administration’s efforts to implement the DATA Act; to discuss actions taken by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) to respond to prior Government Accountability Office and Treasury Inspector General recommendations.

April 19, 2016: GAO Publicly Released Its Report “Data Act: Progress Made but Significant Challenges Must Be Addressed to Ensure Full and Effective Implementation”
What GAO Found: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) have taken some significant steps toward implementing the key provisions of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act); however, several challenges need to be addressed in order to successfully meet the act’s requirements.

February 29, 2016: “Data Act:The first government wide agile project
“If you’ve ever worked on a technology project in government, you’re probably most familiar with the “waterfall” methodology of software development. You have a long requirements gathering phase, then you write the software, test it, and launch. In contrast, agile development emphasizes working software that does the absolute minimum to achieve a mission, so that user feedback on the initial prototype can be incorporated early and often. The goal with agile development is to create a tight feedback loop where user feedback is driving the development.”

January 29, 2016: GAO Released Report “Data Act:  Data Standards Established, but More Complete and Timely Guidance Is Needed to Ensure Effective Implementation”
The GAO report examines Data Act implementation and focuses on efforts to standardize data element definitions. GAO found that several definitions could lead to inconsistent reporting and recommends more complete and timely guidance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Treasury.

November 18, 2015:   Webinar on “The DATA Act: What Recipients Need to Know”
by NASACT (National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers).  Reporting requirements under the DATA Act apply to the Federal awarding agencies.  However, government-wide financial data standards will be established for all federal funds and be used by both federal agencies and recipients.  These data standards include 57 common data elements for financial and payment information that were finalized in August 2015.  What do these new requirements means for recipients of federal contracts, loans and grants?  This webinar clarifies the current impact on recipients.  Speakers: Karen Lee, Chief, Management Controls and Assistance Branch, Office of Federal Financial Management, U.S. Office of Management and Budget; Mike Peckham, Director, DATA Act Project Management Office, Office of Grants and Acquisition Policy & Accountability, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

August 31, 2015:   Final Data Standards Issued
Today OMB and Treasury issued final data standards for the remainder of the 57 data elements. The final data element standards are posted at https://max.gov/datastandards.

The DATA Act page on USAspending.gov has been updated and OMB and Treasury issued a joint blog post.

July 29, 2015:   Joint Hearing on the DATA Act Implementation
The House Subcommittees on Information Technology and Government Operations held a joint hearing on DATA Act Implementation. Witnesses appeared from the Government Accountability Office, Office of Management and Budget, and Treasury; each gave an update on their agencies’ actions to date on implementation and answered questions from members. The link to the hearing page includes a video of the full hearing and links to the witness testimony (the GAO testimony is 34 pages long and contains quite a bit of background).

April 1, 2015:   Webinar on the DATA ACT, SECTION 5 PILOT
Section 5 of the DATA Act calls for a pilot program to develop recommendations for standardized reporting elements across the Federal government; the elimination of unnecessary duplication in financial reporting; and the reduction of compliance costs for recipients of Federal awards.  The Pilot program will collect data during a 12-month reporting cycle (May 2015 – May 2017). A report is due to Congress on results of the pilot in Aug 2017.

Federal Spending Transparency: (DATA Act and FFATA Collaboration Space)
With the recent enactment of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) (Pub. L. 113-101) and efforts to improve federal spending data under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), the federal government is working to establish government-wide financial data standards and increase the availability, accuracy, and usefulness of federal spending information.  To facilitate feedback from stakeholders outside the federal government, a GitHub page was created by Treasury and OMB as a collaboration space to facilitate two-way communication and the open exchange of ideas between federal and non-federal stakeholders.  Visit the Federal Spending Transparency website on GitHub at http://fedspendingtransparency.github.io/

December 3, 2014: Effective Implementation of the DATA Act Would Help Address Government-wide Management Challenges and Improve Oversight

September 26, 2014:   “The Data Act: What It Is and What It Mean”
Data Transparency Town Hall presentation by Christina Ho, U.S. Department of the Treasury and Karen Lee, Office of Management and Budget

May 9, 2014:  Became Public Law No.113-101

April 28, 2014:  S.994 was passed/agreed to in House by voice vote.   CRS Summary

April 10, 2014:  The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act (S.994), requiring government-wide data standards for spending.  The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.  The DATA Act directs the Treasury Department and the White House to establish government-wide data standards for federal spending information, and publish the data online.  TheDATA Act – (Sec. 2) States as the purposes of this Act to: (1) expand the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 by disclosing direct federal agency expenditures and linking federal contract, loan, and grant spending information to federal programs to enable taxpayers and policy makers to track federal spending more effectively; (2) provide consistent, reliable, and searchable government-wide spending data that is displayed on USASpending.gov; (3) simplify reporting for entities receiving federal funds by streamlining reporting requirements and reducing compliance costs while improving transparency; and (4) improve the quality of data submitted to USASpending.gov by holding federal agencies accountable for the completeness and accuracy of the data submitted.

November 18, 2013: The House passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act (H.R. 2061). The bill would aim to enhance the quality, accuracy, completeness and timeliness of federal spending data on USASpending.gov, expand the role of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (Recovery Board) to use this data to help detect waste, fraud, abuse and improper payments, and direct the U.S. Treasury to establish new federal government-wide data standards, among other provisions. Unlike a version of the legislation passed by the House in 2012, the bill passed this week would not require grant recipients to submit additional reports beyond what is currently required, though it would take steps to begin reviewing and consolidating recipient reporting in an effort to improve transparency and accountability while reducing duplication and compliance costs. It would direct the Recovery Board, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Treasury, to establish a three-year pilot program to determine if consolidated reporting methods can increase transparency and reduce compliance costs for federal fund recipients. The pilot program must consist of a combination of federal contracts, grants and sub-awards that total at least $1 billion and include recipients of federal awards from multiple programs across multiple agencies. The bill would also give OMB broad discretion, based on the results of the pilot, to expand the consolidated reporting requirements to be government-wide. Additionally, the bill requires OMB to collect input regarding reporting requirements for fund recipients and submit a report to Congress on legislation necessary to streamline reporting and/or reduce compliance costs.