Top 10 ROMA NG Questions Answered!

Big news! The ROMA Next Generation (ROMA NG) initial comment period has been extended to April 13th!

Looking for help organizing your thoughts around ROMA Next Generation, and getting a handle on all the moving pieces?  Check out these Top 10 ROMA NG Questions (click here for a printable version) and our handy ROMA NG checklist of action steps to be sure you are covering all of the elements and using all the supporting documents (like our new discussion guides) to help you cover the materials thoroughly!

  1. When does the initial feedback period end? NASCSP’s initial feedback period began March 3, 2016 and ends April 13, 2016.
  1. Is this the only opportunity to submit comments? After this initial period of input, OCS will proceed with an official clearance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This process will include an initial 60-day public comment period, and a final 30-day comment period before final OMB clearance.
  1. Are agencies required to report on every data element in ROMA Next Generation (e.g. all individual, family, and community indicators, services, and strategies)? Local agencies will only report on the NPIs, Services, and Strategies as that relate to their specific work and are NOT required to report on every NPI, Service, or Strategy. In reference to the Characteristic data points, we recognize there may be circumstances where agencies only collect limited information and will not be able to report provide all characteristics for all clients.  We hope that as time passes agencies will find methods and adjust policies that allow for data points to be collected so they may at least produce solid unduplicated counts.
  1. What is the timeline for implementation and reporting? The changes in ROMA Next Generation are significant enough that implementation will take approximately three fiscal years (FY). The majority of the data collection and reporting on ROMA Next Generation will begin in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Local agencies will start collecting data in FY 18 and States will submit the FY 18 Annual Report by March 31, 2019. See the ROMA NG Component Guide for more detail about when each of the reports will be due. You can view your State’s reporting period for FY 18 here. We believe this time line allows over a year for all agencies and states to complete training and systems changes.  
  1. How should we submit comments and questions? NASCSP has developed on-line surveys for each of the ROMA NG components. Use the surveys to provide comments and submit questions on the overall components, as well as specific elements within the components. You can view the individual ROMA NG components, the ROMA NG Components Guide, and the surveys here, as well as via the ROMA NG checklist. We are very interested in receiving comments that include suggestions for strengthening all aspects of ROMA NG. Please feel free to add open ended comments on all surveys.  
  1. Should we complete the surveys as an individual or as an organization? The surveys are designed to collect both individual and organized statewide feedback. As you complete the survey, when prompted, please indicate whether you are responding as an individual Community Action practitioner or a statewide collective of agencies. Please note that the surveys allow only one response per computer (IP address). 
  1. If I fill in the survey, do I have to fill all of them out, line by line? While completing all of the five surveys and providing open-ended comments is preferred, it is not required. You may fill out any combination of the surveys, with as much detail as you would like. As you know, detailed and specific comments from the network are critical in order to make recommendations for revisions to ROMA NG before the formal OMB clearance process. 
  1. Is this a case management system with a mandated intake report? This is not a case management system and does not include a mandated intake report. The reports in ROMA Next Generation will comprise the revised Annual Report, currently known as the CSBG-IS Survey. Local agencies will continue to use individualized data systems as they do currently. One new report, Baseline Characteristics Report, is being proposed in order to provide a snapshot of participants who enter CAA services within a reporting year. However, the characteristics collected for this report are not significantly changed from prior reports.
  1. Is a national data collection system being developed? Over the next two years, OCS plans to replace the current CSBG-IS reporting approach with an online data system in which States will upload data directly to OCS. The goal of this effort will be to improve data analysis at the local and state levels, expedite national reporting, and ultimately, to support additional public communication about the results of our work. OCS and NASCSP will also develop a flexible reporting form for optional use by states and agencies when entering data into the ACF On-Line Data Collection (OLDC) system. OCS has a cooperative agreement with NASCSP to develop a web-based system that will allow for greater analysis and transparency of the CSBG data once submitted to OCS. OCS plans for this web-based system to maintain information that will be publicly available. In developing and implementing new online reporting systems, OCS plans to consult closely with States and with local eligible entities to ensure a system that is compatible with a variety of data collection approaches.  For example, it is anticipated that a new online system will allow States to upload data from an existing statewide system, but also that states that do not have such a system will be able to receive, review, and include local eligible entity data in a statewide annual report without having to re-enter data. 
  1. In reporting, why is it important for us to assess how well we’ve planned? Per the Government Performance and Results Act of 2010, targeting is a requirement for the receipt of federal funds. It provides an indication of how effectively and efficiently government funds are used. While at times a lack of data and unexpected circumstances may impact your target projections, agencies must continue setting realistic targets and analyzing services and outcome data to understand why their targets were unmet, met or exceeded.

We are counting on all members of the Network to help enhance and improve the proposed ROMA Next Generation material. Feedback from staff members who are closest to the data gathering and IS reporting process is especially critical. Responses from Executive Directors, planners, program managers, IT staff, and others who can offer a “hands on” perspective about what the proposed changes in ROMA NG will mean for their work will help ensure that the cleared documents reflect the consensus of the Network and are the strongest tools and indicators possible.

It is important that CAA staff, State CSBG office staff and CAA State Association staff all engage in the review process and provide robust and thoughtful comments during this initial comment period. This feedback period will be followed by the OMB clearance process and will allow additional time for comment. As noted in the Q&A, the OMB clearance process will include an initial 60-day public comment period, and a final 30-day comment period. We look forward to hearing your feedback throughout this process.

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