Homeland Security:

FEMA Has Made Progress in Managing Regionalization of Preparedness Grants

GAO-11-732R: Published: Jul 29, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2011.

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This report responds to Congress' March 2010 request related to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) efforts to delegate grants administration responsibilities to its regions. Specifically, we are reporting on (1) the extent to which FEMA has operationalized delegation of grants administration responsibilities for preparedness grants to the regions, and (2) the extent to which FEMA has assessed the regions' capacity to assume increased responsibility for administration of preparedness grants.

In summary, FEMA has taken steps consistent with internal control standards to operationalize the delegation of grants administration responsibilities for preparedness grants to the regions. For example, FEMA established a task force as an oversight and evaluation mechanism and developed an implementation plan, which includes a phased approach to piloting and delegating specific grants administration functions for preparedness grants to the regions and delineates an approach, including roles and responsibilities, for key implementation activities such as training and communications. FEMA has also made progress in assessing the regions' capacity to assume increased responsibility for the administration of preparedness grants. For example, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate is conducting an assessment of each of its 10 regions' financial management resources and capabilities, as a means to improve regionalization workforce planning. FEMA's leadership is deliberating on possible changes to the initiative given the current fiscal climate and anticipated resource constraints over the next few years, as well as efforts to achieve the right distribution of grants management responsibilities between headquarters and the regions. Based on the results of our review, we are not making any recommendations for congressional consideration or agency action.

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