CDER Library's role in DATA Act compliance featured in OMB memo

Landing page for CDER Library web application

Landing page for the DSFederal developed CDER Library Web Application

In a recent White House Office of Management and Budget memorandum, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney outlines plans to further simplify the grant application process and to reduce the reporting burden for grant applicants and grant-making agencies. The memorandum was written as a response to the DATA Act mandate requiring OMB to offer additional guidance based on lessons learned from the DATA Act Section 5 Pilot.

The Data Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) was signed into law in 2014. When the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was selected to implement the Section 5 Pilot, they sought technical assistance from DSFederal. The DATA Act’s Section 5 Pilot addressed the lack of common data standards across the universe of Federal programs, and authorized a Government-wide effort to identify unifying commonalities, with the ultimate goal of creating and enforcing a shared data vocabulary. We helped HHS to achieve its compliance goals, through two efforts:

  • Development of the CDER Library Web Application: The Common Data Element Repository (CDER) Library advances the DATA Act’s goals, by providing a reliable and accurate source of grants data related to performance and government spending. CDER Library is a government-wide source of grant-related data elements and attributes that stores, maintains, and shares standardized data elements with public and government stakeholders. We developed a web application that offers role-based access and a range of capabilities including search and analysis, customized reporting, and status tracking of data collection forms and data elements.

  • Analysis and harmonization of data housed in Agency forms and the and Grants Centers of Excellence databases: We also perform analysis and harmonization of data housed in the and Grants Centers of Excellence databases and across hundreds of Agency-specific forms used to manage Federal grants—we have harmonized and standardized thousands of records scattered throughout all of these databases.

Director Mulvaney’s memo specifically references our work, noting the Pilot’s successful proof that the Federal government can alleviate the administrative burden on grant recipients through use of open data and re-use of existing forms and data elements. DSFederal has supported DATA Act implementation since 2014 and we are proud to continue to support this pioneering open data effort to streamline the grant-making process, for both the Government and grant recipients.