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Compliance

Technology Initiative Grants (TIGs) are subject to the same rules and regulations as other grants from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). For guidance on the operation and responsibilities of LSC and its grantees, review the Rules & Regulations page on the LSC website. TIG awards are also subject to TIG Grant Assurances. Grant assurances from past TIG cycles and additional guidance are available below.

TIG Grant Assurances

Grant assurances are available for the following TIG cycles. Please contact TIG staff if you require more information.

Administrative Plans

The TIG program requires administrative plans for grants where significant portions of project management are contracted out to third parties. (This requirement is not intended to apply where the contracts are primarily for hardware, software, or technical development work.) For any such grant, as identified by LSC staff, the recipient must submit and have approved by LSC an administrative plan that clearly outlines the grantee's duties and responsibilities for financial oversight and audits, project management, contract coordination, evaluation, and reporting. When the grantee is receiving part of the grant as a fee for this administration, the plan will detail who will exercise these duties for the grantee and how the fee was calculated. The recipient will then report on its fulfillment of the requirements of the approved administrative plan throughout the grant term.

If required, a grantee's assigned TIG Grant Administrator must review and approve the administrative plan before the grantee receives the initial payment on its grant. Additionally, grantees report on the administration and oversight activities conducted in accordance with its administrative plan throughout the project.

Please use the Administrative Plan Template and consult the Sample Administrative Planto develop this document.

Budget Modifications

TIG recipients must obtain prior written approval for changes to the TIG funding portion of the project budget (Column A on the LSC Grants budget) when either (1) cumulative changes exceed the greater of 10% of the total grant amount or $10,000 or (2) an individual line item adjustment exceeds 20 percent of the affected budget line item and represents a change of at least $5,000. Cumulative changes of less than $10,000 and individual line item adjustments of less than $5,000 do not require approval.

Any request by the grantee to modify the Budget must be in writing via email to either techgrants@lsc.gov or to the Grant Administrator. (The current Grant Administrators are Glenn Rawdon, Jane Ribadeneyra, and David Bonebrake.) It may not be made by anyone other than the grantee. In the email, the grantee states 1) what changes are needed; and 2) the reason(s) for the change. The Grant Administrator will notify grantee of approval/disapproval and if approved, a modified budget will be created and saved in LSC Grants. Please note that although LSC requires that recipients obtain prior approval of budget changes when feasible, TIG recipients should also still seek approval of modifications if they realize it is necessary after the expense has been incurred.

Disclosure of Interests for Determination of Conflicts Policy

2013 Cycle Policy: The Disclosure of Interest for Determination of Conflicts Policy ("Current Policy") applies to the 2013 and later TIG Award recipients. Each TIG recipient agrees: they understand and will comply with the Policy; that they will distribute the appropriate Policy to the persons covered by the Policy; that they will ensure that the persons covered by the Policy sign the Conflict of Interest Acknowledgement and Disclosure Form ("Disclosure Form"); that they will maintain in a single location these forms and any written updates of them related to new conflict situations, or additional information to correct an inaccurate or incomplete previously signed and provided Disclosure Form; and that they will maintain in that location a statement of the resolution of each conflict situation and confirmation that the decision on the conflict resolution is documented in the board minutes with a copy of such minutes or a reference to where they are located, including whether the transaction involved is or is not in the best interest of the Organization. The recipient’s board of directors shall serve as the final interpretive and enforcement authority for the recipient with respect to this Policy. LSC retains the ultimate authority to determine whether the actions of the recipient comply with the requirements of this policy.

2012 Cycle Policy: The Disclosure of Interest for Determination of Conflicts Policy ("2012 Policy") applies to the 2012 TIG Award recipients. Each TIG recipient agrees: they understand and will comply with the 2012 Policy; that they will distribute the appropriate Policy to the persons covered by the Policy; that they will ensure that the persons covered by the Policy sign the Conflict of Interest Acknowledgement and Disclosure Form ("Disclosure Form"); that they will maintain in a single location these forms and any written updates of them related to new conflict situations, or additional information to correct an inaccurate or incomplete previously signed and provided Disclosure Form; and that they will maintain in that location a statement of the resolution of each conflict situation and confirmation that the decision on the conflict resolution is documented in the board minutes with a copy of such minutes or a reference to where they are located, including whether the transaction involved is or is not in the best interest of the Organization. The recipient’s board of directors shall serve as the final interpretive and enforcement authority for the recipient with respect to this Policy. LSC retains the ultimate authority to determine whether the actions of the recipient comply with the requirements of this policy.

Please click here to view the 2011 TIG cycle conflicts policy. 

Please click here to view the 2010 TIG cycle conflicts policy.

Program Integrity Requirement

TIG recipients, like all LSC grantees, must comply with the LSC program integrity requirement, 45 CFR § 1610.8, that grantees maintain objective integrity and independence from any organization that engages in LSC-restricted activities. Recipients will structure, monitor, and maintain any TIG‐funded collaborations with non-LSC legal services providers consistent with maintaining overall program integrity. Additionally, recipients will have a representative attend a mandatory LSC webinar on the program integrity requirements, if they are notified by LSC that their organization must attend based on the nature of its TIG activities.

Technology Standards

Current TIG Grant Assurances require that recipients comply with technology standards developed by the legal aid community.

  • The National Subject Matter Index (NSMI) provides a centralized, comprehensive taxonomy of topics for the legal aid community by which documents and data can be indexed. The NSMI makes it possible to share documents across web sites (because each site uses the same vocabulary) and to link between case management systems and statewide web sites based on topics defined by the index. Current TIG Grant Assurances require that products utilizing indexing systems, such as websites, be developed in compliance with the NSMI. The NSMI (current as of September 2011) can be downloaded here in CSV format
    Additionally, LSNTAP’s NSMI page allows users to access the most recent version of the NSMI in multiple formats.
  • Naming Conventions - TIG funded products, including document assembly products, must comply with the naming convention standards under development in the legal aid community. These naming conventions are outlined in the Standards and Practices for HotDocs Server Applications in Legal Services. Products should utilize these naming conventions in order to facilitate effective data sharing and product replication across the legal aid community. However, if complying with these conventions would significantly impede successful completion of a project, TIG recipients may contact their Grant Administrator and seek a waiver of this requirement.

Third-Party Contracting of TIG Funds

Third-party contracts involving LSC TIG funds can raise several compliance considerations. Grantees should review the following resources before contracting:

  • The TIG grant assurance on contracting sets forth additional requirements when grantees enter into contracts for services. This applies to all 2012 and 2013 TIGs -- a different contracting grant assurance governs contracts for services in 2011 and 2010 cycle TIGs. All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open and free competition. All third‐party expenditures, regardless of cost, must be appropriately documented and are subject to 45 C.F.R. Part 1630 Cost Standards. The grant assurance also includes requirements for TIGs where the the recipient expends more than $3,500 of TIG funds on a single contract for goods provided or services to be performed by a third party that is not otherwise subject to the LSC Property Acquisition and Management Manual.
  • LSC Program Letter 10-03, Third-Party Contracting of TIG Funds provides guidance on requirements for third-party contracts made by grantees with LSC TIG funds. The guidance set forth in this document does not represent a change in LSC policy, but rather is intended to serve as a reminder to LSC recipients about existing requirements and to provide additional examples of how these requirements are likely to apply in the TIG context.
  • The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) External Opinion 2002-2008 discusses rules respecting subgrants and transfers in the context of TIG funded statewide-website activities. This document sets forth some examples and guidance regarding whether or not third-party contractor activities that might arise on a website project could qualify as subgrants.
  • LSC's Property Acquisition and Management Manual (PAMM) governs the use of LSC funds, including TIG funds, to acquire, use and dispose of real and nonexpendable personal property. Grantees that lease or purchase equipment or property over $10,000 must obtain the required approval in advance of the purchase or lease. TIG applicants may include the approval request and supporting documentation in their grant application.
  • Issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) helps ensure that contracts are awarded competitively and that grantees obtain best value for the services and/or equipment they require. A Sample Document Assembly RFP can be utilized by programs seeking vendors for document assembly initiatives. Sections of this document may also apply to a broader range of technology projects.

TIG Termination Policies and Procedures

TIGs can be terminated for four reasons:

  1. By default if the recipient fails to provide required documentation on time, unless LSC, in its sole discretion, provides a written waiver or extension;
  2. By modification or withdrawal when the recipient and LSC agree that the TIG should end early by mutual consent;
  3. By termination based on LSC concerns about recipient performance and pursuant to LSC procedures as outlined in LSC’s TIG Procedures Manual; or
  4. By default if the recipient ceases to be an LSC grantee.

In situations (1) and (4) the grant automatically terminates and close-out procedures will be initiated for the grant, including the consideration of what funds, if any, will be provided for any milestones of the grant completed prior to the termination of the grant and what funds, if any, will be returned to LSC. When a grant is ended for any of these reasons, the recipient agrees that it will:

  • Work with LSC staff to close out the grant
  • Provide a final accounting of grant funds,
  • Provide a lessons learned report detailing why the grant failed, and
  • Return any unspent funds.

For Grantees That Fail to Provide Required Documentation On Time: When a grantee is overdue for a reporting deadline by more than 30 days, LSC will issue to the grantee a 60-day termination notice. This notice informs the grantee that the grant is suspended and will automatically terminate if the grantee does not obtain an extension to the reporting period or file the required report within the next 30 days.  If the grantee does not respond within 30 days then LSC will provide a 30-day termination notice.  If the grantee fails to respond to the second notice within 30 days of that notice then the grant will automatically terminate.  If the grantee appeals the termination and it is denied, then the grant is terminated.  A denial of an appeal that results in a termination may be appealed to the next higher LSC official.  

The following timeline outlines the steps in the termination process for grantees that fail to provide timely documentation:

  1. 60-day Termination Notice sent when reporting is 30 days past deadline and the grant is suspended.
  2. 30-day Termination Notice sent at 60 days past deadline (with approval of the OPP Director).
  3. Termination Notice sent by the OPP Director if deficiencies not cured within 30 days of the 30-day Termination Notice. This notice informs the grantee of its right to appeal this decision within 15 days by filing with LSC a Notice of Appeal.
  4. The grantee has an additional 15 days to submit a written response or request a meeting with LSC President.
  5. LSC President issues final decision on whether or not to terminate.

For Grants Ending by Mutual Consent: At any time during a TIG grant term LSC and the grantee can agree to terminate the grant by mutual consent. Close-out procedures will be initiated for the grant based on the terms of the termination agreement. Such agreement will be negotiated with the Grant Administrator and subject to approval by the LSC OPP Director and President.

For Grants Terminated Based on Peformance: LSC may terminate the grant based on concerns regarding grantee performance. LSC will provide the grantee with at least 30 days advance written notice of the proposed termination along with the basis for that decision. Notices of termination will be issued by the OPP Director. The grantee may submit a written response to the notice and request a meeting with the OPP Director to discuss the proposed termination. The OPP Director will issue a final decision whether or not to terminate the TIG. That decision may be appealed to the LSC President. The grantee has 15 days to file a notice of appeal and an additional 15 days to submit a written response. The grantee may also request a meeting with the President. The President’s decision will be in writing and is final.