PRA management consultants, accountants, budget analysts and subject matter experts can conduct assessments in a variety of ways. PRA can provide expert assistance during the financial management evaluation which is that portion of the pre-award process during which the grantor agency assesses the adequacy of the applicant’s financial management systems (accounting, budgeting, property, and procurement and internal controls) and reviews the applicant’s financial capability. This evaluation is critical since it helps to determine whether the applicant can appropriately use and adequately account for Federal funds, if awarded, and to ensure that any required matching, cost participation or program income will be applied to the project.
The most thorough assessments of program capacity include both quantitative and qualitative components and might involve all stakeholders, such as program staff, program clients or participants, and non-participant community members from the target population. Less detailed assessments employ variety of techniques including collection of data using survey instruments, personal interviews, or focus groups. When employed wisely, this type of limited program assessment can be as effective as a more thorough program assessment.
Conducting a program assessment requires the collection of sensitive information, which the applicant may not wish to share. For example, individuals are usually eager to share positive feedback, but they may be reluctant to provide negative comments especially if they think doing so will jeopardize the funding of the project. PRA consultants work to overcome this barrier to program assessment by establishing rapport with program and project staff and creating a safe environment in which project staff can reveal their vulnerabilities confidentially and usually anonymously.
PRA will assist the Procurement or Program Official with developing, conducting, or arranging for pre-award assessments of applicant financial capacity and programmatic capability. PRA will determine the most appropriate assessment design based on the purpose of the program, the activity expected to follow the program assessment, the intended goals of the program, budgetary and time constraints, and other details specific to the program.