While project monitoring has always been an important part of EERE’s work, the Recovery Act highlighted a need for greater consistency across programs and sites, as well as a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities. In August 2010, EERE rolled out its Monitoring Plan for Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment (RDD&D) projects. The plan details the processes involved in the monitoring of all RDD&D awards.
EERE’s monitoring and oversight practices include the technical progress and financial reporting of recipients. Recipient monitoring is achieved through both remote reviews, referred to as “desktop reviews” as well as onsite reviews. Desktop reviews are conducted from a Technical Project Officer’s (TPO’s) home base and consist of an examination of project progress and financial reports submitted by the recipient. The desktop reviews are conducted quarterly for all awards over $1 million and annually for awards valued at less than $1 million. Once the review is complete, the TPO submits an online form, detailing the results of the review, to an internal EERE database (known as IMPACT). The form reports on status of the project with regard to scope, budget and schedule; it also identifies any potential risks.
In addition to desktop reviews, onsite visits and reviews are conducted for many projects. During the onsite review, the TPO appraises the Recipient’s technical performance and compliance with regulations through observation and documentation. Like with the desktop review, once the onsite visit is complete, the TPO files a status report in IMPACT. Onsite reviews are conducted annually for projects totaling more than $20 million; for all other projects the reviews take place as needed. For example, information gathered during the desktop review often signal to the TPO that an onsite visit is needed. Other visits coincide with new compliance procedures or a particular project milestone.
Onsite visits are not only a means of ensuring that the Recipient is in compliance and the project is progressing as expected, but also an opportunity for TPOs to discover best practices. As part of the onsite review report, TPOs are asked to identify Recipient programs, initiatives, or activities that can serve as models for other awards. Best practices may be identified at any stage of the monitoring continuum, from identifying risk to closeout review. EERE’s monitoring and oversight helps to ensure Recipient compliance, establish a consistent application of program standards, and facilitates the continuous improvement of project management procedures.
More information on EERE's monitoring and oversight can be found here.