Legal aid organizations who are successful and receive one of our grants or contracts must assure that they will comply with our grant assurances.
LSC Grant Assurances for Calendar Year 2017 Funding
If Applicant is successful and receives an LSC grant or contract,
APPLICANT HEREBY ASSURES THAT:
- It will comply with the requirements of the Legal Services Corporation Act of 1974 as amended (LSC Act), any applicable appropriations acts and any other applicable law, rules, regulations, policies, guidelines, instructions, and other directives of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), including, but not limited to, LSC Audit Guide for Recipients and Auditors, the Accounting Guide (2010 Edition), the CSR Handbook (2008 Edition, as amended 2011), the 1981 LSC Property Manual (as amended) and the Property Acquisition and Management Manual, and with any amendments of the foregoing adopted before or during the period of this grant. It will comply with both substantive and procedural requirements, including recordkeeping and reporting requirements. It understands that a successful Applicant may be required to agree to special grant conditions as a condition of receiving the grant. Multi-year grants must be renewed each year. Upon renewal, new terms and conditions may apply.
- It agrees to be subject to all provisions of Federal law relating to the proper use of Federal funds. A list of these laws is available at http://grants.lsc.gov/45-cfr-part-1640-applicable-federal- laws. It understands that if Applicant violates any of the Federal laws on the list, it may be subject to the summary termination of its LSC grant as authorized by Pub. L. 104-193, Tit. V., § 504(a)(19). It represents that it has informed employees and board members of the Federal laws and their consequences both to the recipient and to themselves as individuals as required by 45 C.F.R. § 1640.3.
- It agrees that all derivative income from these grant funds shall also be subject to the terms and conditions of this grant as authorized by 45 C.F.R. Part 1630.
- It will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by law against: (1) any person applying for employment or employed by the Applicant; or (2) any person seeking or provided assistance from the Applicant or other program(s) supported in whole or in part by this grant. The governing body has adopted or will adopt in a timely manner Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment Policies, each of which must include an effective mechanism for processing complaints.
- It will notify the LSC Office of Inspector General (OIG) within thirty (30) calendar days after replacement of the Independent Public Accountant (IPA), termination of the IPA, or any other occurrence resulting in a new IPA performing the grantee's annual financial audit. No audit costs may be charged to the LSC grant when the audit required has not been made in accordance with the guidance promulgated by the OIG. It understands that if it fails to have an audit acceptable to the OIG in accordance with the OIG’s audit guidance (including the Audit Guide for Recipients and Auditors), LSC may impose sanctions in addition to those specified by statute, which are: (1) withholding of a percentage of the recipient's funding until the audit is completed satisfactorily; and (2) suspension of the recipient's funding until an acceptable audit is completed. Other possible sanctions that LSC may impose for not having an acceptable audit include special grant conditions and/or corrective actions.
- It understands that Congress may reduce, rescind or sequester LSC funding or may impose additional requirements or restrictions on the use of LSC funding. An award of a grant under the competitive bidding process does not obligate LSC to disburse any funds that are not authorized or appropriated by Congress, nor preclude the imposition of additional Congressional requirements on any funds that are so disbursed. Such requirements or reductions as implemented by LSC shall not constitute a termination or suspension of funding.
- It will provide legal services in accordance with the plans set out in its grant application (and any subsequent grant renewal applications), as modified in further negotiations with LSC, and, if it plans to make a fundamental change in such plans, then it will provide written notice to the LSC Office of Program Performance (OPP) at least thirty days prior to starting implementation of such plans (or immediately upon making such a change if unplanned). It agrees to provide high quality, economical, and effective legal assistance, as measured by the LSC Performance Criteria, ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid, ABA Standards for Programs Providing Civil Pro Bono Legal Services to Persons of Limited Means, and consistent with any applicable code or rules of professional conduct, responsibilities, or ethics.
- With respect to its office technology:
a) it has an information security system that ensures confidentiality and security of its operations, assets, data, and files.
b) it will conduct program-wide conflicts checking contemporaneously with intake using a case management system with an electronic database, including when intake is conducted outside its offices and contemporaneous access to the case management system is available.
c) it has a plan for backing up case management data, financial data, documents and other critical data. It performs these backups at least weekly and checks their integrity by restoring test files. Further, it stores electronic or physical copies of these backups in a safe, offsite location.
d) it has the capacity to convert paper documents into Portable Document Format (PDF) and the capacity to transmit those documents as electronic files.
e) each case handler has a computer at her or his work area that can perform all of the following functions: word processing, access to the case management system, access to time-keeping, access to the Internet, including the ability to download files from the Internet, and e-mail capability with the capacity to send and receive messages and attachments both internally and externally. It understands that the above functions describe the minimum functionality of existing computers only. It further agrees that any new computer, monitor, or printer purchased to perform the above functions will have a capacity to exceed the demands of current operating systems and software so that it can reasonably be expected to perform adequately with few upgrades for at least three (3) years.
- It will work with other LSC and non-LSC-funded legal services providers in the State to ensure that there is a statewide website that publishes a full range of relevant and up-to-date community legal education/pro se related materials and referral information, at least covering the common topics facing the client communities on the subject matters that are the Applicant’s priorities. It will contribute to sustaining said website according to the plan for the development and maintenance of the website adopted by the statewide website Stakeholders Committee of which it will be a member. As a member of the Committee it will work to ensure that: 1) outreach is conducted for members of the client community to inform them of the website and about how to use it, 2) the website is periodically evaluated and updated for ease of use and accessibility to meet the needs of as many consumers as possible, 3) the LSC logo is included on the website, at least on the homepage, and 4) the website indicates that LSC funded programs participate in the website consistent with LSC restrictions. Sample disclaimer language for the homepage or other prominent location: LSC’s support for this website is limited to those activities that are consistent with LSC restrictions (see Grant Assurance 21 for further instructions and clarification on terms of usage). If a Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) was awarded to start the website using either the LawHelp or Open Source template, it will maintain the scope of functionality of the template it was using, including the capability of having separate sections on the website for clients, legal services advocates, and pro bono attorneys; adhering to the “National Subject Matter Index”; and the ability to use the LawHelp interactive HotDocs server.
- During normal business hours and upon request, it will give any authorized representative of LSC, including the OIG, or the Comptroller General of the United States (which includes the Government Accountability Office (GAO)) access to and copies of all records that they are entitled to under the provisions of the LSC Act and other applicable laws. This requirement does not apply to any such materials that may be properly withheld due to applicable law or rules. It agrees to provide LSC with the requested materials in a form determined by LSC while, to the extent consistent with this requirement, preserving applicable client secrets and confidences and respecting the privacy interests of the Applicant’s staff members. For each record subject to the attorney-client privilege, it will identify in writing the specific record or portion thereof not being provided and the legal justification for not providing the record or portion thereof.
- Notwithstanding any other Grant Assurance, §1006(b)(3) of the LSC Act, 42 U.S.C. §
2996e(b)(3), or any state rule governing professional responsibility, it shall, upon request, provide access to and copies of financial records, time records, retainer agreements, client trust fund and eligibility records, and client names, except for those reports or records that may be properly withheld due to applicable law governing attorney-client privilege, to LSC, including the OIG, and to any Federal department or agency that is auditing or monitoring the activities of LSC or of the Applicant and any independent auditor or monitor receiving Federal funds to conduct such auditing or monitoring, including any auditor or monitor of LSC. For each record subject to the attorney-client privilege, it will identify in writing the specific record or portion thereof not being provided and the legal justification for not providing the record or portion thereof. Any materials furnished pursuant to this Assurance shall be provided in a timely manner.
- It will cooperate with all reasonable information collection, including surveys, questionnaires, monitoring, audits, investigations, and compliance or evaluation activities undertaken by LSC, including the OIG, or its agents. Such cooperation shall include making staff available to LSC, including the OIG, or its agents for interview and otherwise allowing staff to cooperate with the same. It understands that nothing in these Grant Assurances in any way restricts or limits the authority of the LSC OIG to access any and all records and information to which it is entitled under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, 5 U.S.C. app. § 3. It will submit, for each year of the grant and for each service area for which a grant is awarded, Grant Activity Reports in a format and at a time determined by LSC.
- It has, or will adopt prior to commencement of the grant: (1) a written whistleblower policy encouraging reporting of unlawful or unethical activity (i.e., violation of any law, policy, or regulation; abuse of authority; gross waste of funds; fraud; embezzlement; theft; improper destruction of records; or providing false information) and prohibiting retaliation and (2) a written conflicts of interest policy. It shall distribute these policies, and provide training about these policies, to all covered individuals. It shall document its distribution of, and training on, both policies.
- It will not take or threaten to take any disciplinary or other retaliatory action against any person for good faith cooperation with or the appropriate release of information to LSC, including the OIG, or other entity authorized to receive such cooperation or information consistent with any applicable law or rule of professional conduct. It will notify its employees and volunteers in writing that it will not take any disciplinary or other retaliatory action against an employee or volunteer (including board members) for any good faith cooperation with LSC, including the OIG, or other entity authorized to receive such cooperation.
- It will submit grantee data updates to LSC within thirty (30) calendar days after any of the events listed below occur. The instructions for providing the updates are located on the LSC Reporting Requirements page at: http://www.lsc.gov/grants-grantee-resources/grantee-guidance/lsc-reporting-requirements.
a. a decision to close and/or relocate any main or staffed branch office;
b. a change of chairperson of the governing/policy body (including the new chairperson’s name, telephone number, and e-mail address);
c. a change of chief executive officer (including the new chief executive officer’s name,telephone number, and e-mail address);
d. a change in its main e-mail address that LSC uses for official communications, or its website address (URL); and/or
e. a change in its charter, articles of incorporation, by-laws, or governing body structure.
- It will notify the LSC OIG Hotline (Telephone: 800-678-8868 or 202-295-1670; Email firstname.lastname@example.org; Fax 202-337-7155) within two (2) business days of (1) the discovery of any information that gives it reason to believe it has been the victim of a loss of $200 or more as a result of any: willful misrepresentation or theft of time, crime, fraud, misappropriation, embezzlement, or theft involving property, client funds, LSC funds, and/or non-LSC funds used for the provision of legal assistance; (2) any contact by the grantee to local, state, or Federal law enforcement officials about a crime; or (3) the discovery by the grantee that it has been the victim of a theft of items such as credit cards, check stock, passwords, or electronic access codes that could lead to a loss of $200 or more. The required notice shall be provided regardless of whether the funds or property are recovered. Once it has determined that a reportable event has occurred, it agrees it will contact the OIG before conducting its own investigation into the occurrence.
- It will notify the LSC Office of Compliance and Enforcement (or other office as noted) within twenty (20) calendar days (unless otherwise noted) whenever:
(a) under the provisions of § 1006(f) of the LSC Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2996e(f), the Applicant receives any notice of a claim for attorneys’ fees. The Applicant also will forward, upon receipt, a copy of the pleading requesting these attorneys’ fees;
(b) any of the following events likely to have a substantial impact on its delivery of services occur:
(i) a monetary judgment, sanction or penalty has been entered against it;
(ii) it enters into a voluntary settlement of an action or matter which involves the payment of a monetary judgment, sanction or penalty;
(iii) it experiences a force majeure event.
(c) any of a grantee’s key officials (e.g., executive director, chief financial officer, other key financial official) or any employee with control over grantee finances, or any employees with financial management responsibilities, is charged with fraud, misappropriation, embezzlement, theft, or any similar offense, or is subjected to suspension, loss of license, or other disciplinary action by a bar or other professional licensing organization (recipient will notify both the LSC Office of Compliance and Enforcement and the LSC OIG of an occurrence within 10 days).
- It will maintain all records pertaining to the grant during the grant year and for such period(s) of time as prescribed by the Accounting Guide for LSC Recipients, Appendix II (2010 Edition) after expiration of the grant year. With respect to financial records, it will maintain originals (or digital images thereof unless otherwise required by applicable law) of all financial records and supporting documentation sufficient for LSC to audit and determine whether the costs incurred and billed are reasonable, allowable and necessary under the terms of the grant. LSC retains the right to perform an audit, or engage independent auditors to do so, whether during or subsequent to the grant period.
- It will, in accordance with internal policies, retain and preserve closed client files for a period of not less than five (5) years from the date the file is closed or for the period set by Federal, state, or local rules on maintenance of records, whichever is longer.
- If the Applicant anticipates making changes to its current entity status or corporate structure, including merger or consolidation with another entity, changing its name, or creating a subsidiary corporation, or ceasing to be a direct recipient of LSC grant funds at the end of the grant term or during the grant term for any reason, it agrees:
a. to provide the LSC Office of Program Performance (OPP) with written notice at least sixty (60) calendar days prior to the anticipated date for making any of the above changes (except when LSC terminates the grant relationship);
b. not to transfer its interests in its LSC grant to another entity without prior approval from LSC for such transfer, including submission to LSC and approval by LSC of a Successor in Interest Agreement;
c. to ensure that any successor entity maintains the Applicant’s records, including financial records, for a period of six (6) years after expiration of the grant year to which they pertain and maintains client files for a period of not less than five (5) years after the closure of the case to which they pertain;
d. to submit to the LSC OPP, either at the time that it provides the written notice in (a) above, or within fifteen (15) calendar days from being notified by LSC that it will cease to be a recipient of LSC grant funds, a plan for the orderly conclusion of the role and responsibilities of the Applicant as a recipient of LSC funds. Detailed instructions for preparing this plan are at http://www.lsc.gov/orderly-conclusion-role-responsibilities- recipient-lsc-funds.
- It agrees to cooperate with LSC in its efforts to follow up on audit findings, recommendations, significant deficiencies or material weaknesses, and corrective actions by LSC, including the OIG, or the GAO, and/or with the findings, recommendations or significant deficiencies or material weaknesses found by the Applicant's IPA to ensure that instances of deficiencies and noncompliance are resolved in a timely manner. It agrees to expeditiously resolve all such reported audit findings, significant deficiencies or material weaknesses, and corrective actions, including those of sub-recipients, to the satisfaction of LSC.
- It will use the LSC logo on any Internet website page that may serve as a “homepage” for the Applicant, and on its Annual Report, press releases, and official letterhead, and may use the logo on other official documents such as business cards, newsletters, telephone directory listings or other advertisements or announcements about services provided by the Applicant and supported with LSC funds. It understands that the LSC logo is a registered service mark of LSC and that permission to use the logo is provided to Applicant under a limited license such that the logo may be used: (1) only while Applicant is receiving LSC funds; (2) only for the purposes described above; and (3) only in accordance with such size, format and color instructions as LSC provides. Other uses of the logo are not permitted unless expressly authorized in writing by LSC. Electronic and camera-ready versions of the logo are available at http://www.lsc.gov/lsc-logos.