FAQs

1. What is the CDER Library?

The Common Data Element Repository (CDER) Library was jointly authorized by the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in June 2014, to facilitate implementation of the DATA Act and encourage use of common data standards.  OMB assigned the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide tactical leadership for the DATA Act Section 5 Grants Pilot; CDER Library is part of the Pilot, and was designed to serve as an authorized source of data elements and data definitions used by the Federal government in agency interactions with the public. Initially populated with financial assistance information, the repository is designed to include data standards that have been approved through implementation of the DATA Act. CDER Library is managed by HHS in its role as executing agent for the OMB Section 5 Grants Pilot.

2. How does the CDER Library complement other sources of data standards; for example, Uniform Grants Guidance, OMB A-11?

The CDER Library is a repository of Federal government-wide, standardized data elements that consolidates information from authorized sources into a single library.

3. Where does CDER Library data come from?

Approved data elements in the public and Federal sections come from the Uniform Grants Guidance repository. Data elements available in the Federal section come from Federal agency forms or grant system documentation (e.g., online data collection systems). Currently, the Federal section includes data elements and forms from the following agencies/systems:

4. What is data harmonization?

Data harmonization is a standardized analysis process completed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to satisfy the requirements of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act). The process identifies details about data elements reported to the Government and suggests ways to standardize, or harmonize, all data attributes across reporting mechanisms in the Federal grant life-cycle so information can be consistent across all forms and systems. The harmonized data elements proposed and hosted in the Common Data Elements Repository (CDER) Library move closer to Government-wide standardization.

     

5. What is DATA Act?

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) Pub. L. 113-101 was enacted on May 9, 2014. The DATA Act, as directed by Congress, is intended to:

  • Expand the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA) to disclose direct Federal agency expenditures; and link Federal contract, loan, and grant spending information to programs.
  • Establish Federal government-wide standards for financial data; and provide consistent, reliable, searchable, and accurately displayed Federal government-wide spending data.
  • Simplify reporting for entities that receive Federal funds by streamlining reporting requirements and reducing compliance costs, while improving transparency.
  • Improve the quality of data submitted to USASpending.gov, by holding Federal agencies accountable for the completeness and accuracy of the data that they submit.
  • Apply approaches developed by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to spending across the Federal government.
  • Require agency Inspectors General and the Comptroller General to audit and report on agency compliance with the law's mandates.

The Administration is committed to implementing the DATA Act, the goal of which is to transform the way the government does business by using Federal spending data for management decision making. Additionally, increased accuracy and accessibility of Federal spending data affords the public a more transparent view of government spending.

For more information on implementation of the DATA Act, please visit the Federal Spending Transparency Collaboration Space at http://fedspendingtransparency.github.io/.

6. What is Section 5 Grants Pilot?

Section 5 of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act), Public Law 113-101, requires the Federal government to establish a pilot program, with participation of appropriate Federal agencies, to facilitate development of recommendations for:

  • Standardized reporting elements across the Federal government
  • Elimination of unnecessary duplication in financial reporting
  • Reduction of compliance costs for recipients of Federal awards

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) assigned the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide tactical leadership and to serve as the executing agent for the pilot as it relates to the grants community. HHS's vision of the Section 5 Grants Pilot includes:

  • Opportunities to reduce recipient burden through use of standardized data elements and/or streamlined reporting requirements
  • Analysis of standardized grants data elements in the context of the grants lifecycle and associated business processes
  • Technology to facilitate access to and use of Federal grants information, and increased understanding of standardized data elements

Statutes required the Section 5 Grants Pilot to begin no later than May 9, 2015 and to conclude on May 8, 2017; with data collection to inform a follow-on report to Congress. The Section 5 Grants Pilot launch schedule and activities for May 2015 included:

  • Launch of a Common Data Element Repository Library (CDER Library), a Federal government-wide resource to facilitate consistency of Federal financial and business terms and definitions, inclusive of agreed-upon standardized data elements
  • Launch of an expanded Grants.gov portal for public use, to promote greater transparency and easier access to grant lifecycle information
  • Partnership with OMB to initiate dialogue around elimination of unnecessary duplication in financial reporting and reduced compliance costs for Federal award recipients