[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 206 (Tuesday, October 26, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65595-65599]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-26960]


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CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE

45 CFR Part 2553

RIN 3045-AA52


Retired and Senior Volunteer Program Amendments

AGENCY: Corporation for National and Community Service.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This proposed rule sets forth a competitive process for 
selecting grant recipients for the Retired and Service Volunteer 
Program (``RSVP''), including performance measurement requirements, as 
required by the Domestic Volunteer Service Act (DVSA), as amended by 
the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (Serve America Act) of April 
21, 2009.

DATES: Submit comments on or before December 27, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit and read comments through the Federal 
government's one-stop rulemaking Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. You may also mail or deliver your comments to Amy 
Borgstrom, Docket Manager, Corporation for National and Community 
Service, 1201 New York Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20525. Members of the 
public may review copies of all communications received on this 
rulemaking at the Corporation's Washington, DC headquarters.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Borgstrom, Docket Manager, 
Corporation for National and Community Service, (202) 606-6930, TDD 
(202) 606-3472. Persons with visual impairments may request this 
document in an alternate format.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Invitation to Comment

    We invite you to submit comments about these proposed regulations. 
To ensure that your comments have maximum value in helping us develop 
the final regulations, we urge you to identify clearly the specific 
section or sections of the proposed regulations that each comment 
addresses and to arrange your comments in the same order as the 
proposed regulations. During and after the comment period, you may 
inspect all public comments about these proposed regulations on http://www.regulations.gov or by contacting the Docket Manager listed in this 
notice.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 
Record

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for these proposed regulations. If you want to 
schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact Amy 
Borgstrom, Docket Manager, Corporation for National and Community 
Service, aborgstrom@cns.gov, TDD (202) 606-3472.

II. Background

    On April 21, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Edward M. 
Kennedy Serve America Act (Serve America Act) (Pub. L. 111-13). The 
Serve America Act reauthorizes and expands national service programs 
administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service 
(``the Corporation'') by amending the National and Community Service 
Act of 1990 (NCSA) and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 
(DVSA).
    The Serve America Act amended the DVSA by requiring the Corporation 
to develop a competitive process for selecting grant recipients for the 
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (``RSVP'') beginning in fiscal 
year 2013. Section 201(e) of the DVSA requires that the Corporation 
promulgate regulations within 18 months of the enactment of the Serve 
America Act establishing the competitive grantmaking process for the 
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. The competitive process, as 
directed by statute, will include the use of peer review panels with 
expertise in senior service and aging, site visits as

[[Page 65596]]

appropriate, and evaluations of existing grantees. The amended statute 
requires that, beginning in fiscal year 2013, RSVP grants be awarded 
for a period of 3 years, with an option for renewal of 3 years if the 
grantee meets the performances measures established in its grant award, 
as well as complying with the terms and conditions of the grant.

III. Proposed Rule

    The current competitive process for selecting RSVP grantees only 
occurs when there is new money above the appropriated base funding for 
RSVP grants. The future competitive process for selecting RSVP grantees 
will include the same elements specified in the amended DVSA that have 
been used for previous competitive processes. The elements specified in 
the amended DVSA are discussed below.
    A. Peer review panels [DVSA sec. 201(e)(2)(B)(i); 45 CFR 
2553.71(b)]: As of 2013, RSVP grant applications will be reviewed by 
blended peer review panels that will include members with specialized 
expertise in senior service and aging, as well as Corporation staff, 
who will offer their expert opinions concerning each application. The 
use of blended peer review panels is well established at the 
Corporation and is currently part of the process of selecting grantees 
for other programs such as AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America. The 
Corporation also has considerable experience in using outside reviewers 
with expertise in senior service and aging on selection panels for 
Senior Corps grants, including RSVP. The Corporation's existing 
processes for announcing peer review opportunities, registering 
potential reviewers, selecting reviewers for particular competitions, 
managing review panels, and considering peer review opinions in making 
the final selection of grantees will be adapted to meet the 
requirements for RSVP grant competitions.
    B. Site inspections [DVSA sec. 201(e)(2)(B)(ii); 45 CFR 
2553.71(b)]: As appropriate, on-going RSVP grant projects or proposed 
project sites may be visited by Corporation representatives as part of 
the competitive selection process. While such site visits would 
normally not be needed, circumstances could arise during the grantee 
selection process where on-site observations or meetings might be 
helpful, for example, in clarifying aspects of an application or 
validating the capacity of an organization to administer a Federal 
grant.
    C. Performance Measures, Outcomes, and Other Criteria [DVSA 
sections 201(e)(2)(B)(v) and 201(g); 45 CFR 2553.12(l) and Subpart J]: 
As a part of the competitive process, the Corporation will develop 
performance measures, outcomes, and other criteria that will be used in 
the evaluation of applicants. The performance measures will be 
established in the Notification of Funding Availability and may be 
different than those incorporated in current grants. These performance 
measures, outcomes, and criteria will reflect the different needs of 
rural and urban communities. These performance measures, outcomes, and 
criteria will be used in conducting the competitive process and in 
developing assessment reports as described in paragraph D, below. 
Performance measures will be published in the Notification of Funding 
Availability.
    Pursuant to section 201 (g)(2)(A) & (B) of the Serve America Act, 
prior to Fiscal Year 2014, that is, the first year after initiation of 
the competitive process, the performance measures, outcomes, and other 
criteria established for the process may not be updated or modified, 
except when the Corporation determines that a performance measure, 
outcome, or criterion has become operationally problematic. In such 
cases, after consulting with RSVP project directors, sponsor 
executives, and others as appropriate, and notifying the authorizing 
committees, the Corporation may eliminate that performance measure, 
outcome, or criterion, or modify it.
    D. Assessments of existing RSVP projects [DVSA sections 201(f) and 
(g); 45 CFR 2553(f)]: All existing RSVP grants will receive a report 
from the Corporation in a standardized format that assesses program 
strengths and weaknesses in a way that can assist the grantee with 
program improvement. The Corporation has set up a mechanism for 
consulting with RSVP project directors during the development and 
implementation of the assessment process. This report will guide the 
Corporation's training and technical assistance for the project. The 
standardized report will, in addition to assessing the program's 
strengths and weaknesses, include--
     An assessment of the extent to which the grantee meets or 
exceeds the performance measures, outcomes, and other criteria 
established for its grant;
     An assessment of whether the program has adequately 
addressed the needs of the population and community it serves;
     An assessment of the project's efforts to collaborate with 
other community organizations, units of government, and entities 
providing services to seniors;
     An assessment of the project's compliance with 
requirements for appropriate use of Federal funds, based on use of a 
protocol for fiscal management;
     An assessment of whether the project is in conformity with 
eligibility, outreach, enrollment, and other RSVP programmatic 
requirements.
    To the maximum extent practicable, the report for each project will 
take into account input received from individuals who are knowledgeable 
about RSVP, including current or former employees of the Corporation 
and representatives of the communities served by RSVP volunteers.
    To the maximum extent practicable, the process of assessing 
existing RSVP grants will begin in Fiscal Year 2010 and run through 
Fiscal Year 2012, with the objective of completing the assessment and 
resulting training and technical assistance prior to conducting the 
initial cycle of grant competitions in Fiscal Year 2013.
    E. Maintenance of volunteers and geographic service areas [DVSA 
sec. 201(e)(2)(B)(iv)]: The Corporation will ensure that (a) grants 
awarded as a result of the competitive selection process beginning in 
Fiscal Year 2013 are for at least the same number of volunteers 
annually as were supported for the service area during the previous 
grant cycle and (b) maintain a similar program distribution as was 
maintained during the previous grant cycle. In addition, the 
Corporation will minimize any disruption to RSVP volunteers that might 
result from implementing the competitive process of grantee selection.
    F. Program Termination [DVSA sec. 201(g)(3); 45 CFR 2553.31]: Until 
2013, the Corporation will continue to initiate termination or denial 
of an application for refunding in the event that a grantee does not 
meet one or more of the performance measures, outcomes, and other 
criteria established as described above. Any such termination or denial 
of refunding will follow the notification and due process currently 
followed in such cases, in accordance with Section 412 of the DVSA, as 
implemented by 45 CFR part 1206 Grants and Contracts--Suspension and 
Termination and Denial of Application for Refunding, except that after 
initiation of competition in FY 2013, the provisions governing denial 
of refunding will not apply to a grant that has been competed in 
accordance with 45 CFR 2553.71, and where the grantee has also 
completed its optional three-year renewal term.

[[Page 65597]]

    G. Technical Assistance [DVSA sec. 201(h) and (j); 45 CFR 
2553.71(f)]: The Corporation will develop procedures for providing 
technical assistance, including regular monitoring visits, to assist 
grantees in meeting the established performance measures, outcomes, and 
criteria. One component of such technical assistance, which was 
launched in October 2009, is an online resource guide available at 
http://www.nationalserviceresources.org/rsvp-online-resource-guide. The 
Corporation updates this online guide from time to time with examples 
of high-performing RSVP projects and other information.
    H. Grant Extension for Purpose of New Competition [DVSA sec. 
201(i); 2553.71(e)]: To minimize disruption to volunteers and services, 
if a grantee fails to meet one or more of the established performance 
measures, outcomes, and other criteria, the Corporation will continue 
to fund the current grantee for up to 12 months if the competition for 
a replacement sponsor has not resulted in a replacement sponsor. During 
those 12 months, the Corporation will conduct a new competition to 
serve the geographic area served by the current grantee and reach out 
to other potential sponsors. The current grantee will be eligible for 
the new competition and, during the 12-month period, the Corporation 
may continue to provide training and technical assistance in meeting 
established performance measures.
    All provisions of part 2553 not modified by the amendments 
described below will remain in effect, including the provision in Sec.  
2553.72 (a) that a ``Corporation grant may be awarded to fund up to 90 
percent of the total project cost in the first year, 80 percent in the 
second year, and 70 percent in the third and succeeding years.'' Thus, 
the Corporation will continue to require that a current grantee 
applying for a new grant must contribute from non-Corporation funds at 
least 30 percent of the total project cost. A new applicant, on the 
other hand, will be required to contribute 10 percent in the first year 
of the grant, 20 percent in the second year, and 30 percent in the 
third and succeeding years.

IV. Effective Dates

    The Corporation intends to make any final rule based on this 
proposed rule effective on the date that the final rule is published in 
the Federal Register.

V. Non-Regulatory Issues

Executive Order 12866

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Chief Executive Officer must 
determine whether this regulatory action is ``significant'' and 
therefore subject to the requirements of the Executive Order and review 
by OMB. Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a ``significant 
regulatory action'' as an action likely to result in a rule that may 
(1) have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or 
adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local or 
tribal governments, or communities in a material way (also referred to 
as an ``economically significant'' rule); (2) create serious 
inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by 
another agency; (3) materially alter the budgetary impacts of 
entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and 
obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) create novel legal or policy 
issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or 
the principles set forth in the Executive Order. The Chief Executive 
Officer has determined that this regulatory action, while not 
economically significant, is significant because Congress is requiring 
re-competition for the RSVP program for the first time.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Corporation has determined that the regulatory action will not 
result in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; 
(2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual 
industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic 
regions; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, 
investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United 
States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in 
domestic and export markets. Therefore, the Corporation has not 
performed the initial regulatory flexibility analysis that is required 
under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 6.)

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    Under the procedures established by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995, a person is not required to respond to a collection of 
information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid 
OMB control number. This rulemaking would not establish any new 
information collection requirements.

List of Subjects in 45 CFR Part 2553

    Aged, Grant programs--social programs, Volunteers.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Corporation for 
National and Community Service proposes to amend 45 CFR part 2553 as 
follows:

PART 2553--THE RETIRED AND SENIOR VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

    1. The authority citation for part 2553 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4950 et seq.

    2. Amend Sec.  2553.12 by removing the alphabetical paragraph 
designations and adding a definition for ``performance measures'' in 
alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  2553.12  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Performance measures. Indicators intended to help determine the 
impact of an RSVP project on the community, including the volunteers. 
Performance measures currently include, but are not limited to, the 
following performance indicators:
    (1) Output indicator. The amount or units of service that RSVP 
volunteers have completed, or the number of people the project has 
served. An output indicator does not provide information on benefits or 
other changes in the lives of the volunteers or the people served.
    (2) Outcome indicator. Specifies a change that has occurred in the 
lives of the people served or the volunteers. It is an observable and 
measurable indication of whether or not a project is making progress 
toward its outcome target.
* * * * *
    3. Amend Sec.  2553.23 by adding new paragraphs (i) and (j) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  2553.23  What are a sponsor's program responsibilities?

* * * * *
    (i) Minimize any disruption to RSVP volunteers when one sponsor is 
replaced by another as a result of relinquishment, denial of refunding, 
or recompetition of a grant.
    (j) Make every effort to meet such performance measures as may be 
established for the RSVP project by mutual agreement.
    4. Amend Sec.  2553.31 by revising paragraph (c) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  2553.31  What are the rules on suspension, termination and denial 
of refunding of grants?

* * * * *
    (c) Beginning in FY 2013, the procedures for suspension and 
termination of RSVP grants, which are specified in 45 CFR part 1206, 
shall continue to apply, but the procedures in part 1206 applicable to 
denial of

[[Page 65598]]

refunding of an RSVP grantee shall not apply to any grant awarded 
through the competitive process described in Sec.  2553.71 of this 
part.
    5. Revise Sec.  2553.71 to read as follows:


Sec.  2553.71  What is the process for application and award of a 
grant?

    As funds become available, the Corporation solicits applications 
for RSVP grants from eligible organizations through a competitive 
process.
    (a) What are the application requirements for an RSVP grant? An 
applicant must:
    (1) Submit required information determined by the Corporation.
    (2) Demonstrate compliance with any applicable requirements 
specified in the Notice of Funding Availability or Notice of Funding 
Opportunity.
    (b) What process does the Corporation use to select new RSVP 
grantees? (1) The Corporation reviews and determines the merits of an 
application by its responsiveness to published guidelines and to the 
overall purpose and objectives of the program. In conducting its 
review, the Corporation considers the input and opinions of those 
serving on a peer review panel, including members with expertise in 
senior service and aging, and may conduct inspections at the 
applicant's site, as appropriate.
    (2) The selection process includes:
    (i) Determining whether an application complies with the 
application requirements, such as deadlines, eligibility, and 
programmatic requirements, including performance measurement 
requirements;
    (ii) Applying published selection criteria, as stated in the 
applicable Notice of Funding Availability or Notice of Funding 
Opportunity, to assess the quality of the application;
    (iii) Applying any applicable priorities or preferences, as stated 
in the applicable Notice of Funding Availability or Notice of Funding 
Opportunity;
    (iv) Ensuring innovation and geographic, demographic, and 
programmatic diversity across the Corporation's RSVP grantee portfolio.
    (v) Identifying the applications that most completely respond to 
the published guidelines and offer the highest probability of 
successfully carrying out the overall purpose and objectives of the 
program.
    (c) How is a grant awarded? (1) Subject to the availability of 
funds, the award will be documented by a Notice of Grant Award (NGA).
    (2) The Corporation and the sponsoring organization are parties to 
the NGA. The NGA will document the sponsor's commitment to fulfill 
specific programmatic objectives and financial obligations. It will 
document the extent of the Corporation's obligation to provide 
assistance to the sponsor.
    (d) What happens if the Corporation rejects an application? The 
Corporation will return to the applicant an application that is not 
approved for funding, informing the applicant of the Corporation's 
decision.
    (e) For what period of time does the Corporation award a grant? The 
Corporation awards a RSVP grant for a specified period that is 3 years 
in duration with an option for a grant renewal of 3 years, if the 
grantee's performance and compliance with grant terms and conditions 
are satisfactory. The Corporation will use the Denial of Refunding 
procedures set forth in 45 CFR part 1206 to deny funding to a grantee 
when the Corporation determines that the grant should not be renewed 
for an additional 3 years.
    (f) What assistance in preparation for competitive award of all 
RSVP grants will the Corporation provide to sponsors who have 
previously received a grant and whose grants are expiring in fiscal 
year 2011, 2012, or 2013? (1) For each grant expiring in fiscal years 
2011, 2012, or 2013, the Corporation will evaluate the grant, to the 
maximum extent practicable, in fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012, 
respectively.
    (2) The evaluation will give particular attention to the different 
needs of rural and urban projects, including those serving Native 
American communities, and will evaluate the extent to which the sponsor 
meets or exceeds performance measures, outcomes, and other criteria 
established by the Corporation.
    (3) To the maximum extent practicable, the Corporation will ensure 
that each evaluation is conducted by a review team made up of trained 
individuals who are knowledgeable about RSVP, including current or 
former employees of the Corporation and representatives of communities 
served by RSVP volunteers, who will provide their input and opinions 
concerning each grant.
    (4) The Corporation will use the evaluation findings as the basis 
for providing recommendations for program improvement, and for the 
provision of training and technical assistance.
    (5) The evaluation will assess:
    (i) The project's strengths and areas in need of improvement;
    (ii) Whether the project has adequately addressed population and 
community-wide needs;
    (iii) The efforts of the project to collaborate with other 
community-based organizations, units of government, and entities 
providing services to seniors, taking into account barriers to such 
collaboration that such program may encounter;
    (iv) The project's compliance with the program requirements for the 
appropriate use of Federal funds as embodied in a a protocol for fiscal 
management;
    (v) To what extent the project is in conformity with the 
eligibility, outreach, enrollment, and other requirements for RSVP 
projects; and
    (vi) The extent to which the project is achieving other measures of 
performance developed by the Corporation, in consultation with the 
review team.
    6. Add a new subpart J to read as follows:
Subpart J--Performance Measurement
Sec.
2553.100 What is the purpose of this subpart?
2553.101 What is the purpose of performance measurement?
2553.102 What performance measurement information must be part of an 
application for funding under RSVP?
2553.103 Who develops the performance measures?
2553.104 What performance measures must be submitted to the 
Corporation and how are these submitted?
2553.105 How are performance measures approved and documented?
2553.106 How does a sponsor report performance measures to the 
Corporation?
2553.107 What must a sponsor do if it cannot meet its performance 
measures?
2553.108 When may a sponsor change a project's performance measures?
2553.109 What happens if a sponsor fails to meet the performance 
measures included in the Notice of Grant Award (NGA)?

Subpart J--Performance Measurement


Sec.  2553.100  What is the purpose of this subpart?

    This subpart sets forth the minimum performance measurement 
requirements for Corporation-funded Retired and Senior Volunteer 
Program (RSVP) projects. This subpart does not apply to Non-
Corporation-funded RSVP projects as discussed in Subpart K.


Sec.  2553.101  What is the purpose of performance measurement?

    The purpose of performance measurement is to strengthen the RSVP 
project and foster continuous improvement. Reporting on performance 
measures is used by the Corporation as part of assessing the impact of 
the project on the community and on the accomplishment of the 
objectives established in the

[[Page 65599]]

Corporation's Strategic Plan. In addition, as part of the competitive 
process, performance measures are used to assess how an applicant for a 
grant approaches the design of volunteer activities and the measurement 
of their impact on community needs.


Sec.  2553.102  What performance measurement information must be part 
of an application for funding under RSVP?

    An application to the Corporation for funding under RSVP must 
contain:
    (a) Performance measures.
    (b) Estimated performance data for the project years covered by the 
application.
    (c) Actual performance data, where available, for the preceding 
completed project year.


Sec.  2553.103  Who develops the performance measures?

    (a) An applicant is responsible for developing its own project-
specific performance measures.
    (b) In addition, the Corporation may establish performance measures 
that will apply to all Corporation-sponsored RSVP projects, which 
sponsors will be responsible for meeting.


Sec.  2553.104  What performance measures must be submitted to the 
Corporation and how are these submitted?

    (a) An applicant for Corporation funds is required to submit at 
least one of each of the following types of performance measures as 
part of their application. The Corporation will provide standard forms.
    (1) Output indicators.
    (2) Outcome indicators.
    (b) An applicant must also submit any uniform performance measures 
the Corporation may establish for all applications.
    (c) The Corporation may specify additional requirements relating to 
performance measures on an annual basis in program guidance and related 
materials.


Sec.  2553.105  How are performance measures approved and documented?

    (a) The Corporation reviews and approves performance measures for 
all applicants that apply for funding from the Corporation.
    (b) An applicant must follow Corporation-provided guidance and 
formats provided when submitting performance measures.
    (c) Final performance measures, as negotiated between the applicant 
and the Corporation, will be documented in the Notice of Grant Award 
(NGA).


Sec.  2553.106  How does a sponsor report performance measures to the 
Corporation?

    (a) The Corporation will set specific reporting requirements, 
including frequency and deadlines, concerning performance measures 
established in the grant award. A sponsor is required to report on the 
actual results that occurred when implementing the grant and to 
regularly measure the project's performance.
    (b) At a minimum, a sponsor is required to report on outputs at the 
end of year one and outputs and outcomes at the end of years two and 
three. A sponsor may choose to exceed these minimum requirements and 
report results earlier.


Sec.  2553.107  What must a sponsor do if it cannot meet its 
performance measures?

    Whenever a sponsor finds it is not on track to meet its performance 
measures, it must develop a plan to get back on track or submit a 
request to the Corporation to amend its performance measures. The 
request must include all of the following:
    (a) Why the project is not on track to meet its performance 
requirements;
    (b) How the project has been tracking performance measures;
    (c) Evidence of corrective steps taken;
    (d) Any new proposed performance measures; and
    (e) A plan to ensure that the project will meet the new proposed 
measure(s).


Sec.  2553.108  When may a sponsor change a project's performance 
measures?

    Performance measures may be changed only if the Corporation 
approves the sponsor's request to do so.


Sec.  2553.109  What happens if a sponsor fails to meet the performance 
measures included in the Notice of Grant Award (NGA)?

    If a sponsor fails to meet a target performance measure established 
in the NGA, the Corporation will negotiate a period of no more than one 
year for meeting the performance measure. At that point, if the sponsor 
still fails to meet the performance measure, the Corporation may take 
one or more of the following actions:
    (a) Reduce the amount of the grant;
    (b) Suspend, terminate, or deny refunding of the grant, in 
accordance with the provisions of Sec.  2553.31 of this part;
    (c) Take this information into account in assessing any application 
from the organization for a new grant or augmentation of an existing 
grant under any program administered by the Corporation;
    (d) Amend the terms of any Corporation grant to the organization; 
or
    (e) Take other actions that the Corporation deems appropriate.

    Dated: October 20, 2010.
Wilsie Y. Minor,
Acting General Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2010-26960 Filed 10-25-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6050-28-P