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ASAP Customer Board Responsibilities & Charter

The Customer Board (formerly known as the Customer Advisory Board) will review the issues and requests identified by ASAP User Groups and FMS, arrive at a consensus when there are conflicting opinions among different groups, and submit recommendations to FMS.

The CB will be asked to participate in:

  • Identifying best practices in recipient initiated payment requests and information delivery.
  • Identifying and testing enhancements to the ASAP system.
  • Preparing and reviewing user requirements documents.
  • Attending meetings and conference calls with ASAP developers.
  • Reviewing systems requirements and attending walkthroughs of enhancement designs.
  • Reviewing user documentation, such as users guides.
  • Conducting and reviewing ASAP user surveys related to system changes and customer satisfaction.

October 31, 2000
Revised: November 5, 2003

ASAP Customer Board Charter

Introduction

The Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council Committee on Grants Management has made recommendations for streamlining the process for transferring cash from Federal Departments and agencies to grantees. One recommendation states that the Automated Standard Application for Payment (ASAP) be one of two systems used by all non-military grant-making agencies for the payment of their grants. Another recommendation is that each system put Customer Boards in place and hold periodic user group meetings and/or conference calls to facilitate user feedback and communicate information about current and future system enhancements.

Background

In 1990, Congress passed the Cash Management Improvement Act (CMIA). The intent of this law was to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and equity in the exchange of funds between the Federal Government and the States. Responsibility for the implementation and management of CMIA was assigned to the Financial Management Service (FMS). States advised FMS that a timely request for funds was not always matched by a timely payment of those funds. Many Federal granting agencies did not have the capacity to pay in a timely fashion. In a joint effort with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, FMS developed the ASAP system.

The ASAP system was designed to be a recipient-initiated payment request and delivery system. Federal agencies establish and fund accounts for grant awards and replenishment of funds for financial agents. States, territories, the District of Columbia, the academic community of universities and colleges, Indian Tribal organizations, non-profit organizations, financial agents, Electronic Benefit Transfer providers, and other users request payments from these accounts. ASAP is also a payment information system where Federal agencies, payment requestors, and recipient organizations may make inquiries and request reports.

FMS established separate user group communities for Federal agencies, States, Indian Tribal Organizations, Universities, and Non-Profit/Other. The National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) and the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) were integral in the establishment of the State ASAP Users Group as a part of their annual conference. The purpose of the user group meetings is to provide a forum for individual users having similar interests to discuss various aspects of the system and system enhancements. These discussions facilitate the exchange of information about user needs and concerns, current and planned system requirements, and proposed enhancements.

Purpose

The ASAP Customer Board (ACB) consists of individual users from each ASAP user group community. The ACB provides a forum for ASAP users to exchange information with FMS about user needs and concerns, current system functionality, and proposed enhancements. This forum also affords FMS a means to present or solicit information from individual users regarding user needs, the current system functionality, and proposed enhancements. The ACB will adopt its own practice for conducting business.

Mission Statement

The mission of the ACB is to provide a forum for ASAP users to exchange information with each other and FMS about user needs and concerns and to provide feedback about system requirements and enhancements. This exchange of information will assist FMS in improving ASAP to make it the system of choice for its customers.

ACB Role

The ACB reviews the issues identified by FMS and individual users and conveys users' concerns, comments, and feedback to FMS. Each ACB representative seeks input from individual users in his/her user group. Members of the ACB may also raise new issues for discussion. The ACB will be asked to solicit and report on individual user input that will assist FMS in:

  • Identifying best practices in recipient initiated payments and information delivery;

  • Identifying enhancements;

  • Evaluating and prioritizing enhancements;

  • Testing enhancements;

  • Providing feedback on new system requirements;

  • Providing feedback on published user documentation, e.g., user guides; and

  • Conducting and reviewing surveys among ASAP users related to system changes and customer satisfaction.

ASAP Goals

The FMS welcomes all user comments, but values user input that parallels the following goals for the ASAP system:

  • The ASAP system shall support the efficient, effective, and equitable exchange of funds in compliance with CMIA and other cash management principles;

  • The ASAP system shall support a single uniform interface across all ASAP users; and

  • The ASAP system is a payment system and not a grants management system. The ASAP system provides grant management information but does not replace grant management requirements outlined in the Federal Commons envisioned by the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (FFAMIA).

FMS Role

Users' questions, comments, and feedback received by the ACB will be submitted to FMS' ASAP Program Office Customer Liaison Team. The Customer Liaison Team will review and direct the input to the appropriate area of the ASAP Program Office. The Customer Liaison Team may provide responses to the ACB users. FMS will share the Change Management Database with the ACB on a regular basis for their information in input. Representatives of the ASAP Program Office and other FMS organizations, as appropriate, will attend all ACB meetings.

ACB Membership

FMS welcomes all users to serve as members of the ACB. Nominees with experience with ASAP and who are willing to attend meetings regularly will generally be accepted as ACB members by FMS. However, FMS reserves the right to not accept a nominee. To ensure that user demographics are adequately represented, FMS will strive to maintain a minimum of two representatives from each user group. Members will serve a minimum of two years, but have the option of remaining on the Board if they so desire. As members leave the board, FMS will solicit and accept nominations for new Board members to represent specific user group communities. NASACT and NAST will each nominate a state user group member for a two-year term.

ACB Chair and Vice Chair

A Chair and Vice Chair will be selected by open nominations made by the ACB and elected by a simple majority of the ACB membership through an anonymous ballot. The Chair and Vice Chair may not represent the same user group. The Chair and Vice Chair will serve for a term of one year and, if willing, may extend their term for a second year with the approval of ACB members. At the end of the term, the Vice Chair will become the Chair and a new Vice Chair will be selected by vote of the membership. If the Vice Chair chooses not to move to the Chair position, a vote for both the Chair and Vice Chair will be required. No person may serve more than two terms as Chair or Vice Chair. The Chair performs the following duties:

  • Chairs the ACB meetings and conference calls, in conjunction with FMS;
  • Prepares, in consultation with FMS, Board agendas and briefing documents;
  • Coordinates the discussion on agenda items; and
  • Ensures that all individual user inputs received by the ACB are reported to FMS' ASAP Program Office Customer Liaison Team.

ACB Meetings

ACB meetings will be scheduled quarterly, but can be canceled if there is no need to meet. Half-day conference calls may be substituted for meetings or used to discuss issues with the ACB for quick turnaround with FMS. Travel costs to attend meetings will be at the expense of the member's agency or organization. A simple majority of the members of the ACB will constitute a quorum. Should a simple majority of the Board members not be present, a quorum may be established through a conference call. Discussion on agenda items may be deferred until a conference call can be scheduled which would represent a quorum of the Board.

The goal of such meetings is not to arrive at a group or majority opinion on an issue, but to obtain comments and feedback on an issue from individual users in all of the applicable user groups. In reporting on members' discussion on an agenda item, the ACB will summarize the various inputs received from individual users.

An ACB member must designate a proxy up to one week before a meeting by sending a written statement, which may be done electronically, to the Chair of the ACB. FMS' ASAP Program Office Customer Liaison Team will monitor attendance and participation in Board meetings or discussion to ensure that FMS is receiving appropriate input from individual users. FMS, in consultation with the Chair, reserves the right to remove or replace a member who is unable to participate on a regular basis.

The ACB Chair will set the agenda for each meeting with input from FMS. All ACB members may suggest agenda items to the Chair and FMS.

Staff Support

FMS' ASAP Program Office with support from Regional Operations will provide logistic and administrative support to the ACB, including the following services:

  • E-mail periodic packages of information related to possible enhancements or issues to ACB members. Members will be encouraged to raise issues or suggest enhancements for inclusion in the packages;
  • Coordinate meeting logistics, send out meeting announcements, send out meeting reminder notices, secure requested materials/information and prepare and distribute the minutes of the meetings; and
  • Maintain ACB information on FMS ASAP website, including membership lists, meeting minutes and other documentation. Meeting minutes are reviewed by the ACB prior to posting on the website.

Approved:

________/s/_______
Lisa Thompson, Chair
ASAP Customer Board
   November 5, 2003
   Date

________/s/_______
Elizabeth Oldenburg, Director
ASAP Program Office
   November 5, 2003
   Date