The Department of Health and Human Services finally received its formal designation as a shared service provider for grants management systems Monday.
As an official quality services management office (QSMO), HHS can now stand up a marketplace and its customer agencies choose from a catalog of cloud-based systems and services offered by federal shared service providers.
While HHS presented its implementation plan to the Shared Services Governance Board last July, it had the longest road to becoming the fourth QSMO because it lacked a preexisting shared services model like the others.
“The grants QSMO is unique in that its marketplace will have a direct impact on the public at large,” Federal CIO Basil Parker said in the announcement. “Modernizing and leveraging shared grant solutions across the government should improve the user experience and service quality for the grants community and the federal government.”
Systems HHS’s marketplace will cover include grant management of pre-awards, awards, post-awards and closeouts, as well as recipient oversight.
The QSMO has its roots in the HHS ReInvent Grants Management Initiative proposed in 2017 as part of ReImagine HHS, the goal of which was to reduce administrative burden while improving transparency and efficiency.
Sharing quality services is Cross-Agency Priority Goal 5 in the current President’s Management Agenda, and the Office of Management and Budget is charged with designating QSMOs for standardizing agencies’ IT.
The other initial, official QSMOs include the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for cybersecurity services, Treasury Department for financial management services and General Services Administration for human resources services.
Just because HHS lacked a formal QSMO designation doesn’t mean its work toward a marketplace stopped.
“While we’re awaiting formal designation, we’ve been making significant progress in understanding the existing grants management ecosystem, engaging stakeholders including federal service providers, and supporting business offices bringing quality shared services to the market to accelerate the impact once we are designated,” said Alice Bettencourt, QSMO executive lead for HHS, in September.