Technology Initiative Grants (TIGs) are subject to the same rules and regulations as other grants from 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.
2015 TIG/PBIF Compliance Webinar
Video of LSC's March 2015 webinar covering key compliance issues for both the Pro Bono Innovation Fund (PBIF) and TIG programs. This webinar reviewed key compliance requirements concerning these two special grant programs. Content is targeted to compliance and financial staff from grantees in addition to project managers and executive directors.
TIG Grant Assurances
Grant assurances are available for the following TIG cycles. Please contact TIG staff if you require more information.
- 2016 TIG Grant Assurances
- 2015 TIG Grant Assurances
- 2014 TIG Grant Assurances
- 2013 TIG Grant Assurances
- 2012 TIG Grant Assurances
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.
Conflicts of Interest and Whistleblower Protection
As of September 2016, TIG grants no longer have separate conflicts of interest policy requirements, but are subject to the grantee’s written policies regarding conflicts-of-interest and providing whistleblower protections.
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.
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 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 goods or services; this applies to all 2015 - 2016 TIGs. A similar grant assurance covers 2012 - 2014 grants, though it requires a competitive selection process for contracts that exceed $3,500 instead of the new $5,000 threshold. 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. As noted below, LSC's Property Acquisition and Management Manual (PAMM) may add further requirements to TIG contracting.
- 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.
TIGs can be terminated for four reasons and pursuant to the procedures discussed in this section:
- By default if the recipient fails to provide required documentation on time, unless LSC, in its sole discretion, provides a written waiver or extension;
- By modification or withdrawal when the recipient and LSC agree that the TIG should end early by mutual consent;
- By termination based on LSC concerns about recipient performance; or
- 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.
1. 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:
- 60-day Termination Notice sent when reporting is 30 days past deadline and the grant is suspended.
- 30-day Termination Notice sent at 60 days past deadline (with approval of the OPP Director).
- 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.
- The grantee has an additional 15 days to submit a written response or request a meeting with LSC President.
- LSC President issues final decision on whether or not to terminate.
2. 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.
3. 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.