U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Award Condition: All subawards ("subgrants") must have specific federal authorization

The following award condition is specifically incorporated by reference in many OJP awards made during or after 2016.

Important Note: This condition concerns agreements that -- for purposes of federal grants administrative requirements -- OJP considers "subawards" (also sometimes referred to as "subgrants"). It does not apply to agreements that (for purposes of federal grants administrative requirements) OJP considers procurement "contracts" under an OJP award. For information on the approval requirements that apply to procurement contracts under OJP awards, refer to the Award Condition: Specific post-award approval required to use a noncompetitive approach in a procurement contract (if contract would exceed $150,000).


Award Term and Condition:

All subawards ("subgrants") must have specific federal authorization

Requirement for federal authorization. Before entering into a subaward ("subgrant") under this award, the recipient (and any subrecipient at any tier) should verify that it has federal authorization to make the particular subaward. All subawards require federal authorization, which may take several forms. In some cases, a federal statute (such as a program statute) may specifically authorize particular subawards (or particular categories of subawards), including subawards at multiple tiers. In other cases, a particular subaward may be authorized because the recipient included a sufficiently-detailed description and justification of the proposed subaward in the application as approved by OJP.

Post-award requests for authorization. If a particular subaward is not authorized by federal statute or regulation, and is not sufficiently described and justified in the application as approved by OJP, the recipient must request and obtain written authorization from OJP before it may make the subaward. Any such post-award request for authorization to make a subaward must be submitted via OJP's Grants Management System ("GMS"), as a "Change of Scope" Grant Adjustment Notice ("GAN"). Unless and until OJP authorizes the subaward by approving the requested Change of Scope GAN, the recipient may not obligate, expend, or draw down award funds for the proposed subaward.

Should the recipient have a question as to whether a particular subaward ("subgrant") has the requisite federal authorization, the recipient is to seek clarification from OJP before making the subaward.

Factors OJP considers. When deciding whether to authorize a particular subaward (whether described in an application or in a post-award Change of Scope GAN), OJP considers pertinent information, including-- (1) the identity of the proposed subrecipient, (2) the roles and responsibilities of the proposed subrecipient in carrying out the federal award and federal program, and (3) the recipient's justification for the proposed subaward, including matters such as special qualifications of the proposed subrecipient and its areas of expertise.

Background. Recipients of OJP awards typically may propose to make "subawards" ("subgrants") and also may propose to enter into procurement "contracts" under the award. Whether -- for purposes of federal grants administrative requirements -- a particular agreement between a recipient and a third party is considered a subaward, or instead is considered a procurement contract under the award, is determined by federal rules and applicable OJP guidance. It is an important distinction, in part because the federal grants administrative rules and requirements that apply to subawards and to procurement contracts under awards differ markedly. Neither the title nor the structure of an agreement determines whether -- for purposes of federal grants administrative requirements -- an agreement is a subaward or is instead a procurement contract under an award. Also, financial clearance by OJP of a proposed budget does not indicate whether -- for purposes of federal grants administrative requirements -- OJP agrees with the applicant's characterization of a proposed agreement (that is, one listed in the budget) as a subaward or instead as a procurement contract.

OJP is providing guidance to its recipients (and subrecipients) as to what -- for purposes of federal grants administrative requirements -- OJP considers a subaward ("subgrant") under an OJP award, and what OJP instead considers a procurement contract under an OJP award. This guidance, which will be updated and expanded as needed, will be accessible through the OJP Funding Resource Center (currently at https://ojp.gov/funding/index.htm).

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