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Procurement Disaster Assistance Team

FEMA’s Office of the Chief Counsel established the Procurement Disaster Assistance Team (PDAT) in 2014 to assist disaster assistance applicants with adhering to the Federal procurement standards, which can be found at Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) sections (§§) 200.317 through 200.326, as well as FEMA policies and guidance associated with FEMA’s Public Assistance grants. PDAT's mission is to ensure that FEMA personnel and nonprofit, local, state, tribal, regional, and national emergency management personnel are familiar with the Federal procurement standards applicable to FEMA’s Public Assistance disaster grants, in order to facilitate compliance with these standards, and reduce the likelihood of disallowance for failure to adhere to these requirements.

PDAT is currently comprised of nine attorneys tasked with deploying to active disasters and with proactively developing and providing training and guidance materials. While PDAT provides guidance on the rules for procurement under grants, neither this site, nor the materials found on this site, should be considered legal advice.

Background

FEMA estimates that approximately 90% of all Public Assistance (PA) grant funds are expended through recipient and subrecipient procurements. Audits by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) have found that FEMA disaster recipients and subrecipients have difficulty complying with applicable Federal procurement standards. PDAT seeks to address this area of concern by working with applicants and FEMA PA staff in advance of procurement actions to minimize, reduce, or eliminate common non-compliance issues that routinely result in recommendations and actions to deobligate disaster assistance funds that would otherwise be eligible for full reimbursement.

Goals

  • Provide training, reference materials, and real-time guidance to PA applicants on the Federal procurement standards to avoid the potential deobligation of funds, both before and after those funds have been expended by an applicant.
  • Facilitate efficient and effective applicant procurement actions that meet applicant needs and adhere to Federal requirements.
  • Enable PA recipients to better assist their subrecipients with complying with the Federal procurement under grants rules.
  • Make PDAT resources easily accessible and understandable. These resources and other procurement resources are available below.

PDAT Deployments to Active Disasters

PDAT deploys directly to the field serving applicants at a time when procurement assistance is needed most.

  • PDAT provides real-time training and guidance to applicants. PDAT also provides procurement advice and training to FEMA Public Assistance staff to help identify and remedy potential procurement issues before an applicant solicits and awards contracts in violation of the Federal procurement standards.
  • However, PDAT also recognizes that emergency managers and disaster survivors have limited time and resources to devote to procurement-related training immediately after a disaster has occurred and during the response phase. Accordingly, PDAT members generally do not immediately deploy to a disaster to provide support. Instead, PDAT deploys members to a disaster only upon transition to the recovery phase, or where emergency managers and disaster survivors have sufficient time to plan for and receive procurement-related training. This paced timing allows emergency managers and FEMA personnel on the ground sufficient time to meet their disaster response responsibilities but still allows PDAT to provide procurement-related training prior to the solicitation and award of longer term recovery projects, which are usually subjected to more restrictive procurement requirements (as opposed to procurements pursuant to exigent or emergency circumstances, for example).
  • PDAT focuses on guidance to applicants to facilitate understanding of the Federal procurement standards. PDAT may review applicant procurement policies and procedures, but it does not generally review individual contract actions. Furthermore, PDAT CANNOT provide legal sufficiency reviews of specific applicant procurement actions. All such issues will be referred to the applicant’s servicing legal counsel.

PDAT in Steady State

When not deployed to an active disaster:

  • PDAT training is ideally proactive and focused upon providing procurement-related training BEFORE a disaster occurs in order to provide emergency managers at all levels, prospective applicants, and FEMA personnel with the information and tools necessary to place themselves in the best possible position to identify potential procurement issues at the earliest possible point in time.
  • While PDAT’s preference is to provide proactive procurement training prior to a disaster; followed by training at the transition from the response to recovery phase of an active disaster; for a variety of reasons, it may not be possible to provide training at these two points in time. In these situations, PDAT will provide procurement-related training to applicants, prospective applicants, and FEMA’s personnel on the ground, upon request.
  • Furthermore, PDAT will provide training and tools throughout the year to applicant’s, prospective applicants, and FEMA staff to increase awareness, knowledge, and shared understanding of the Federal procurement standards, regardless of disaster status, upon request and subject to sufficient funding.

Course Description and Audience

Course Title

“Procurement Under FEMA Awards: Requirements for Recipients and Subrecipients When Procuring Services and Supplies with Funding under Stafford Act Grant Programs.”

Target Audience

State, Local, and Tribal emergency management personnel, private nonprofit entities, and FEMA personnel.

Course Length

4 hours

Course Goal

Reduce applicant violations of the Federal procurement regulations by training participants on the Federal procurement requirements set forth at 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.317 through 200.326 (the “Uniform Rules”).

Course Description

The Procurement Disaster Assistance Team (PDAT) is a group of attorneys within FEMA’s Office of Chief Counsel that trains and advises Public Assistance staff on the Federal procurement requirements; works with Public Assistance staff to provide training and guidance to recipients and subrecipients on the Federal procurement requirements; and, when requested, provides general guidance regarding concerns with proposed recipient or subrecipient procurement actions.

Violations of the Federal procurement requirements can result in reduced Federal grant funding. This training will focus on the requirements set forth in the Uniform Rules so that participants can identify and avoid potential violations of the Federal procurement requirements. Topics include: overview and use of contracts by recipients and subrecipients; procurement by state, tribal, and local governments, hospitals, institutions of higher education, and other nonprofit organizations; competition; methods of procurement; cost or price analysis; contractor bonding requirements; and contract provisions.

A downloadable version of this course description is available here.

Training Sessions

As of October 1, 2016, PDAT has provided 215 procurement training sessions to approximately 7,150 FEMA, state, tribal, local, DHS OIG, and private nonprofit personnel in 45 states, territories, and tribal lands.

How to Request Training

Please contact your local FEMA staff to set up a training session. FEMA personnel in the field or at a Region will get in touch with PDAT, and we will work with the applicable parties to arrange a training. Our standard presentation is 4 hours long, and we can conduct both in-person trainings as well as live webinars. We request a minimum of 15 participants for all trainings and a maximum of 100 participants for our live webinars.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Series

PDAT has put together a series of webinar modules on the rules for procurement under grants. There are eight (8) modules in this series. This webinar series covers the procurement standards under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (also known as the “Uniform Rules”), which are codified at Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations, sections 200.317 through 200.326 (2 C.F.R. §§ 200.317-.326). These blocks of instruction will familiarize you with the procurement standards imposed by Federal regulations on recipients and subrecipients when procuring services and property with funding from any of the Stafford Act grant programs, specifically as interpreted by and applied to the Public Assistance Program. We recommend watching these modules in order if you have not received this training before. If you have received any or all of this training before, these modules can be watched in any order as a refresher.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Module 1: Intro, Background, Terminology, and Key Players

This block of instruction is the first in the series. This module, Module 1, will focus on the general procurement under grants information, including why PDAT and this webinar series were created; common terms you’ll see throughout the series; FEMA’s primary grant law, which is the Stafford Act; and the roles of various Federal and non-Federal entities in the procurement under grants process.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Module 2: States

This block of instruction is the second in the series. This module, Module 2, will focus on the overarching procurement under grants rule applicable to states, including state agencies, instrumentalities of the state, and territories, but not local governments.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Module 3A: NFEs Other than States – General Procurement Standards

This block of instruction is the third in the series. Modules 3A-3D discuss the rules that only apply to local governments, tribes, and nonprofits, sometimes collectively referred to as non-Federal Entities (NFEs) other than states. This particular module, Module 3A, will focus on the general procurement standards applicable to NFEs other than states.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Module 3B: NFEs Other than States – Competition and Procurement Methods

This block of instruction is the fourth in the series. Modules 3A-3D discuss the rules that only apply to local governments, tribes, and nonprofits, sometimes collectively referred to as non-Federal Entities (NFEs) other than states. This particular module, Module 3B, will focus on the rules related to competition and procurement methods that apply to NFEs other than states.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Module 3C: NFEs Other than States – Socioeconomic Contracting; Cost and Price

This block of instruction is the fifth in the series. Modules 3A-3D discuss the rules that apply only to local governments, tribes, and nonprofits, sometimes collectively referred to as non-Federal Entities (NFEs) other than states. This particular module, Module 3C, will focus on the rules related to socioeconomic contracting as well as cost and price that apply to NFEs other than states.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Module 3D: NFEs Other than States – Pre-Procurement Document Review and Bonding

This block of instruction is the sixth in the series. Modules 3A-3D discuss the rules that apply only to local governments, tribes, and nonprofits, sometimes collectively referred to as non-Federal Entities (NFEs) other than states. This particular module, Module 3D, will focus on the rules related to pre-procurement document review and bonding requirements that apply to NFEs other than states.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Module 4: Recovered Materials (State & Local NFEs); Contract Provisions (All NFEs)

This block of instruction is the seventh in the series. This particular module, Module 4, discusses rules that either apply to just state and local governments or instead to all non-Federal entities (NFEs). State and local governments must comply with the rule on procurement of recovered materials while all NFEs (i.e., states, local governments, tribes, and nonprofits) must comply with the rule regarding required contract provisions.

Procurement Under Grants 2.0 Webinar Module 5: Differences Between Current and Former Standards

This block of instruction is the eighth and last in the series. This particular module, Module 5, summarizes the key differences between the current procurement standards and the previous procurement standards. For emergency and major disaster declarations issued on or after December 26, 2014, the procurement rules for all non-Federal Entities (NFEs) are located at 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.317-.326. For emergency and major disaster declarations issued before December 26, 2014, the rules for states, local governments, and tribes were located at 44 C.F.R. § 13.36, and the rules for nonprofits were located at 2 C.F.R. §§  215.40-.48.

PDAT Resources

Below are various resources developed by PDAT as guidance on the procurement under grants rules. These resources do not constitute legal advice. Please consult your organization's servicing counsel.

Other Resources

Last Updated: 
01/03/2018 - 10:10