Victim Compensation Performance Measurement Tool User Training Webinar
This OVC webinar provides guidance for reporting on the required performance measures for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Compensation formula grant program.
Members of OVC’s performance measurement team provide an overview of performance management, processes for accessing the Performance Measurement Tool (PMT) system, entering quarterly performance measures, generating the annual grantee report, and troubleshooting strategies and additional resources.
View the webinar presentation.
Tina Dimachkieh: Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining our Victim Compensation Performance Measure Reporting session.
Today, we will be going over a few items, but before we do so, I want to introduce myself. I am Tina Dimachkieh a Training and Technical Assistance Specialist. I provide contractor support to OVC and OVC grantees around performance management as part of the Performance Management team, and we also are responsible for performance measure reporting, as well.
Today, I will be going over an overview of performance management at OVC. I will also go over different definitions, different platforms, and types of reports that Victim Compensation grantees are responsible for. We then will move on to discussing roles and responsibilities of OVC and our VOCA Victim Compensation grantees.
We will then look at the Performance Measurement Tool, the PMT, and some of its functionalities, and we will go through the different performance measures and quarterly reports, and then we will move on to discussing the Annual Narrative Report and providing some tips on how to respond to narrative questions. And I will conclude the session by providing resources and contact information.
To begin, we will talk about the Performance Measurement Overview, and it's very important to know, when you talk about performance measures, it's important to look at the bigger picture, which is performance management. It's also very important to differentiate between the two, performance management and performance measures or measurement, are not one and the same.
Performance management of OVC awards is a larger picture, where, when, in charge of OVC awards as a grantee, you are responsible for strategic planning, for developing goals and objectives, for performance indicators to see if you are on track, for, to complete your goals and objectives, and performing any evaluations around the work that you are doing in addition to reporting. So, as you can see on the left hand side, here, performance management is the larger picture.
However, performance measurement is a piece of that, where you see reporting, evaluation, performance indicators, so that equates to performance measurement. Performance measures are the parameters where grantees can assess their goals and see if they are making progress, if they have any opportunities that they need to work on. Information and data, under performance measures, will be able to show you if you are on track to completing those goals and if you, your results are positive or negative as you're looking at your objectives. So, it's really important to differentiate the two. So, performance measurement and collecting data, or data collection, is very important to OVC and to our grantees, as well. Reporting accurately and in a timely manner the OVC reports and providing accurate data is extremely important.
What OVC does when reviewing your data or when you provide accurate and timely data, it allows OVC to demonstrate the value of the programs to Congress, to the federal and state government agencies, and to the victim services field at large, in addition to the general public and any other stakeholders. So, OVC, based on the data provided by our Victim Compensation grantees, is able to demonstrate how important the work that we are completing together is. OVC is also able to generate annual reports through our Data Analysts and our Performance Management team on the Victim Compensation program, and demonstrate output of grant funds and really explain what the funding is being used for, but also be able to advocate for additional funding for our program.
OVC is, or data also allows OVC to emphasize the progress made toward achievement of OVC strategic and program goals. So, showing the larger picture and how OVC is achieving its goals through the data that our grantees are collecting. And also, we're able to reach targeted audiences of grantees and the general public and really raise awareness of the work, of the resources created, and of everything that OVC does through your Victim Compensation programs.
Here are a few examples of what we're able to do with the data, and again, why this data is important and why collecting data is important. It's important because certain things such as the Grant Performance and Results Act, the Modernization Act, were influenced by data reported from grantees.
Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act was also influenced by that and we've been able to make revisions to Uniform Grants Guidance, and other things as you see on the screen, here.
Our analysts have also been able to create certain reports that are extremely important, such as program data reports, or topical snapshots, or also able to make revisions to certain measures and create certain data collection tools based on the feedback we've received through the data from our grantees.
So, your work goes a very long way when you report this data and when you report it accurately and on time, we're able to create these different reports and really raise awareness of the incredible work that our grantees do. I want to go into providing some performance measurement definitions. You will hear me say grantees a lot, you will hear me say State Administering Agency a lot, and if you're working in performance reporting and quarterly reporting, you will see these words come up frequently.
A grantee is the primary grant recipient of funds directly from OVC, and the State Administering Agency is the grantee. It is one in the same. However, the State Administering Agency is the state office that's responsible for receiving the Victims of Crime Act, Victim Assistance and Victim Compensations of VOCA, assistance and compensation funds, and responsible for reporting the data.
Now I'd like to go over the different reporting systems or platforms.
We have the Performance Measurement Tool, the PMT, which is a web-based reporting system in which grantees can electronically submit qualitative and quantitative program performance data. This is where you will be submitting your quarterly data every fiscal quarter within 30 days of the close of the fiscal quarter, and then you will also be submitting your narrative responses, which are considered the quantitative, or the qualitative data. The quantitative are the numbers and the qualitative are the narratives.
JustGrants is the second platform that you will be using for performance reporting. JustGrants is a grants management system that provides applicants and grantees with an end-to-end experience throughout key parts of the grants management life cycle. JustGrants, basically, provides a lot of functionality to our grantees. One function is reporting, reporting of data or progress reporting, but you will be doing much more in JustGrants, that is outside of the reporting piece that you're responsible for.
You report in JustGrants on an annual basis for the performance reporting, and we will talk about that in greater detail. Now, I'd like to go over the Performance Measurement Reports. So, these are the three different reports that our Victim Compensation grantees, the SAAs, State Administering Agencies, are responsible for. The first one is the Quarterly Performance Measure Report. This report is the one where you collect quantitative information on applications received and payment made. This is submitted on a quarterly basis by the grantee, directly into the PMT, the Performance Measurement Tool.
There are four different quarters in the fiscal year, so you have four different quarterly reports where you collect data and submit it into the PMT after the close of every quarter. The second type of report is the Annual Narrative Report. The Annual Narrative Report collects qualitative information on activities that would impact the program delivery, such as emerging trends, policy changes, or outreach efforts. The Annual Narrative Report is submitted annually by the grantees in the PMT.
The annual report opens up in the PMT once a year for the last reporting period, which is the reporting period that quantitative or qualitatively is for July through September. However, quantitatively you are reporting on the entire year on activity that took place over the entire fiscal year. The report becomes available to grantees starting October 1 and it is submitted by December 30. The third report that our Victim Compensation grantees are responsible for is the Annual Grantee Report. This report is a report that contains aggregated data, quarterly data, from the fiscal year in addition to the Annual Narrative Responses. So, this annual report, this grantee report, includes the data that's collected quarterly and also the narrative responses that grantees provide in the PMT. This Annual Grantee Report is automatically generated in the PMT.
Grantees don't have to do any additional steps to aggregate the data, or to ensure that all the information in this report is collected together or merged together. All grantees have to do is locate the PDF of the Annual Grantee Report in the Reports tab. I will show you where that is later on in this presentation. Once you locate the PDF report, you will then download it to your computer, and then you are required to upload it into JustGrants by December 30 each year. So, this piece, the Annual Grantee Report requires the two different platforms, you would start in the PMT and then you would move over to JustGrants. Grantees should ensure that the narrative report, the Annual Narrative Report responses are compiled in the Annual Grantee Report in one PDF and submitted in one PDF.
Again, the system does that for you as long as you respond to the narrative questions in the PMT, the system will generate the report that aggregates the quarterly data, but also includes the narrative responses. Grantees should not be submitting any separate documents for that Annual Grantee Report, such as a Microsoft Word document that includes the responses to narrative questions. It should all be under one PDF that's generated by the PMT system. Please note that this guidance and these different reports are only applicable to formula awards for Victim Compensation.
So, if you have any other OVC awards, or federal awards, in general, please be sure to review the reporting requirements for those awards if they don't fall under Victim Compensation, as they might look different than this. They most likely will look different than these three reports here. I now would like to talk about roles and responsibilities of OVC and our grantees.
As you see on the screen, here, we will start with OVC. The Grant Management Specialists are those that have the dedicated, they are OVC employees, and the ones that have dedicated oversight of the Victim Compensation Program.
Grant Management Specialists are the ones that review annual reports for completeness and reasonableness. They're the ones that would review the annual reports to review the performance measure data and related to project activities that the grantees perform and work with the grantees on goals and objectives.
Then we have the OVC Performance Management team. That is the team that I am a part of and we provide dedicated support. We provide subject matter expertise on all things related to the PMT platform, and any troubleshooting, or any errors or functionality issues.
And we also work with Data Analysts, and Helpdesk Specialists, and the Grant Managers to ensure that the grantees are receiving the support that they need and to develop any training or resources that are needed for our grantees based on feedback that we receive from the grantees. We also support grantees with any data entry and we review data for consistency and accuracy and we send out verification emails when we have any questions about the data.
Then we have our VOCA SAA grantee, which are yourselves, that are joining us for this session. You all are responsible for dedicated action in reporting and management. You collect data, and you enter it into the PMT accurately, and submit the data to OVC. You identify individuals in your organization who will have access to the PMT, who will be responsible or who will be the points of contact for your organization to manage your OVC PMT account and ensure that all the requirements are met for reporting. The individual, or the SAA grantee staff members will be the ones that submit the data in PMT and in JustGrants by the deadlines.
And, you also provide clarification, or update the data as needed in response to inquiries from OVC and from the Performance Management team after they review your data. What this all means in real life is that you, as grantees, at the SAA level are collecting data. You're ensuring that your new staff members know what data is being collected and what the requirements are. That they understand that quarterly and annually there are different reports that are due. And, that they understand the validations in the system, in the reporting systems, and they understand the different measures. And also, in collecting data, you have internal collection systems that help with ensuring that that data is accurate and reported correctly to OVC.
You would track the data, find any common language that staff can use to ensure that everybody is on the same page, working toward the same goals and objectives, and ensure that there's a designated individual that is responsible for collecting and tracking and reporting the data. Making sure that there is an individual that is listed as the point of contact for any data-related inquiries or issues will help OVC be able to connect with you and understand what the different qualitative and quantitative data means for your program.
Then, you also are responsible for actually reporting in the different platforms, in the different systems, and understanding the requirements that OVC has put forth, and the due dates, and any other requirements that could come up, but also ensuring that you have a plan in place to make sure that you report accurately, and on time, and don't have any past due reports. You're also responsible for checking the data that you submit to OVC. Setting up internal checks of data, having meetings with staff members to understand the numbers, looking for any abnormalities in the data, any major increases or decreases throughout different quarters or between fiscal years, and really understanding what your data means and what it means in relation to the work that you are doing.
Okay, so now let's move on to talking about the Performance Measurement Tool. I'm going to give you some tips about the PMT, and then we will go into looking at the platform itself. We always encourage our grantees to use the latest browser when accessing the PMT. Using the latest version of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge is recommended because that will ensure that all the functionalities that are available in the system are operating properly.
We do receive a lot of calls at our helpdesk with certain questions disappearing or issues or errors in the PMT and one of the main reasons for that is using an outdated browser where the system is not functioning properly. So, be sure that you use the latest browser. If you experience issues, be sure to troubleshoot that first, to see if it fixes the issue that you're experiencing. You have to answer all the questions and you have to enter values that are higher than zero for individuals served in services to be able to complete your report and to submit your reports. If you need any additional instructions, you can hover over underlying texts in the PMT for the different measures and an additional explanation or set of instructions will appear to assist the grantee in answering that specific measure.
You are required to answer all the questions and when you do, you need to enter a numerical value in all the fields that are marked with a number. No other value will be accepted. So, no alphabetical value or special characters will be accepted in the answer fields that are marked with the word number on them. There are a few exceptions, and the system will flag those for you where you can include NR for not reported or NT for not tracked, but those are only specific fields that the system already notifies you about. Again, you need to answer all the questions in order to be able to submit your report. Once you answer a question on, or the questions on one page, be sure to hit Save and Continue before you proceed or before you exit out of the system, if you're going to come back to it later, so you don't lose your data.
Also, avoid the Back button. Using the Back button can result in loss of data if you did not Save and Continue or if the system was still processing. So, the best way to navigate through the system is by clicking the different tabs and subtabs within the system instead of hitting the Back button. This is what the system will look like. Here's a screenshot of when you first go to the webpage. The website to access the system is ojpsso.ojp.gov.
You will need your email address and the password that you've created in order to be able to enter into your account. Each person must have their own account for security purposes. So, at the SAA level, you are not supposed to be sharing accounts across staff members. Each member that is working in the PMT should have their own account.
It is very easy to create accounts. I will be showing you how to do so, and there is no limit on creating additional accounts. And this is for security purposes, as I said, sharing accounts could result in somebody entering data on behalf of someone else, or somebody having access to the data or to information on your OVC award that they do not need to access. If you've forgotten your password, you can always select the, you can enter your username and select Forgot Password and then use your, answer your challenge questions to be able to proceed.
Once you've accessed the system, you will be directed to the second screenshot, here. Then you will select on OVC PMT, the link to OVC PMT and you will be, the system will navigate to the default page, which is the profile page of your account. I'm going to go over the menu bar and then we will touch on specific tabs in the menu bar. But, the first one is the OVC PMT homepage.
In the homepage, there's some general information about awards and some instructions, but there's also the reporting schedule, which is a very important piece of information that I always encourage grantees to print off and have available in their office as a reminder of when reports are due and when quarters are closing and when the annual report is due and all that information.
The second tab is the Administration tab, which includes details about the federal awards and also user information. Now, this Administration tab is where you will go to add a new user or manage users and delete users that no longer need access to the PMT. The Profile tab is the default tab that you are directed to once you log into the PMT. It includes contact information of your organization and the point of contact, your Grant Manager, the federal award amount, and information about the different federal awards under your OVC portfolio.
The Enter Data tab is the most common tab that you will be using every quarter. This is where you will go in to enter your data and fulfill your requirements for reporting and submit your data on a quarterly basis. The Reports tab is where you will have access to the status of your reports and who completed the reports and you will also have access to the annual report and that PDF that you're responsible for entering into, or uploading into, JustGrants. I will show you what that looks like.
The Need Help tab directs you to a link to our resources on the OVC Performance Measures page. And then, if you select Log Out, you will be logged out of the system. The system does time out after 30 minutes of inactivity. So, if you don't log out and you want to go back to it later, if it's more than 30 minutes, you will need to log back in, so it logs you out automatically.
Okay. So, for the Administration tab where you can add additional users, I just wanted to walk you through that. You will hover over the Administration tab and then you will select User Management, which is a subtab in the Administration tab. And then you will see a screen like this that lists out the different individuals that have access or the different users that have access to your organization's OVC account. And this is where you can add a new user.
In order to add a new user, you need to have a first name, a last name, an email address, and a phone number. Once you enter all this information, you select Save. Now your user, your staff member, has access to the PMT. They will receive an auto-generated email from the OVC PMT Helpdesk with instructions for first time login. They will need to set up their account for the first time and then they will be able to access their account with just an email and a password.
And, this is what the Profile tab looks like. Again, you will have information about your organization, about who the point of contact is, and your Grant Manager. And, then you also have information about your award that's specific to the award. You will need to use the dropdown or the accordion function and select the Plus sign in order to be able to navigate between the different tabs, and the accordion will either expand to show additional information or collapse to hide the information as you see on the screen, here, between screenshot one and screenshot two.
Now, we will go into the reporting piece, which is the Enter Data tab and the submission of your report but also the actual measures themselves. So, you will start by going to the Enter Data tab. You will select the Enter Data tab, and then you will, the system will ask you to select the reporting period that you are working on in order to be able to continue. The system defaults to the latest reporting period that has been completed and submitted.
So, if you are trying to complete a current reporting period and you see that you don't have, it doesn't show up on the screen for you, that means you have not completed a prior reporting period and you are required to do so in order for the system to open up the next reporting period. So, once you identify the reporting period or you locate the reporting period you're working on, you will select it and then you will hit Continue. The system will then open up the report for you.
And, as you see in red, here, these are the different measures that you are responsible for reporting on. These are the different tabs. We also call them question banks. Again, a reminder, any fields that are labeled with the word "number" or "required number" will only accept a numerical value. So, you cannot enter any alphabetical values, any decimals, or any special characters.
You can also navigate through the different question sets. You can click through them in the tabs and go back and forth between the questions. You don't need to complete it in one specific order. The first question bank is the population demographics, and there are three different questions in the population demographics question bank. The first one asks for the number of people for whom an application was made for Victim Compensation benefits during the reporting period. This is where you will provide the total count of all people included in the applications for benefits during the reporting period. In addition to the victims themselves, this may include the spouse, a parent, or other relatives that have been a part of the application.
Question two, however, asks for the number of victims whose victimization is the basis of the application. So, this is where you would indicate the actual number of victims and not the additional people that were included in the application. Because of that explanation, this means that the response for question two should be equal to or less than the response for question one. An example for this would be if, let's say you said the number of people who received an application during the reporting period, or who an application was made for is 10. So, number one, your answer is 10. And then in number two, number of victims whose victimization was the basis of the application, you include 15.
The system will flag this because there's a validation that has been programmed into the system. There's a rule that alerts the system to say, hey, this does not work. This is not less than or equal to question one because it's not possible to have question one's response be 10 individuals total, and then question two's response be 15 different victims with applications because you already said number one is 10, so you cannot have more than 10 individuals as victims in number two, it has to be 10 or less. There are different validations in the system such as this one, where the system will flag our grantee and let them know, hey, this doesn't equate to the rules that are embedded in the system.
Please check your answers and verify that you're reporting accurately. This is the first line of defense in ensuring the data is accurate. Question three in population demographics asks about the actual demographics of the victims or the applications that you are reporting. There are different tables in question three and they represent race and ethnicity, gender, and age for each victim whose victimization is the basis of the application. This data is only used for statistical purposes. This is not to identify any individuals or try to connect the dots between the different information that you are providing to OVC. But also, another set of validations is within these different tables for race, ethnicity, gender, and age. So, the totals for each category have to be equal to the response that you provided, that the grantee has provided in question two.
So, the total for the different categories in the race category have to be equal to the number of victims whose application was, whose victimization was the basis of the application. You cannot include additional numbers. This number cannot be higher or lower. It has to be equal to what you responded to in question two. Similarly for gender and age, you need to provide a response that equates to what was in question two. The second question bank is question bank for questions four through nine and that's the performance measures themselves.
Four is a question where you just select the radio button. You don't provide a number and that asks that based on your program's general procedures, you are required to indicate if only one application is usually counted per crime or if victims and indirect victims generally count as separate applications. So, you would just provide the process or, how, how this this piece is done for your state or for your organization.
Question five asks for the number of new applications received during the reporting period. And question six asks for the number of approved applications during the reporting period. So, then we have question seven, which asks for the total number of applications that were denied during the reporting period. Once you include that number, you are then required to include the subcategories, which are the reasons why the applications were denied at the bottom, or not at the bottom, you are, you are supposed to ensure that the total of question seven is listed out throughout the different subcategories.
So, you have to make sure that the number in question seven equals the total of the numbers listed out in the different categories.
If the options for the categories are not, don't include the definition or the reason that is listed in your organization, you can always provide an addition, put it in category Other and provide an additional explanation of what Other means to your organization. But we do encourage grantees to best align the PMT options with their database definition the best they can or as much as possible so they can include them in the actual options and not put them in the Other category.
And again, like I said, the total number of applications denied should equal the sum of all the categories for the denial, including the Other category listed in question seven. Question eight asks for the number of applications received for sexual assault forensic exams during the reporting period. So, for this one, you would include any applications that were paid and the amount paid for sexual assault forensic examination in the categories of child sexual abuse and or sexual assault in the crime-type category, which is question eight, or question nine, which is the question to come. If payment for sexual assault forensic examinations are made through a separate process, aside from the VOCA Victim Compensation Fund, you would report the number of examination applications, here, and then you would input a zero for the actual payment made for those applications.
If you pay for examinations through a regular compensation application process, you would include the examination applications in your response to question five, which is the one that asks for approved applications or the new number of applications received during the reporting period, excuse me, and then select the Not Applicable button at the bottom, here, in the screenshot. Then we will move on to crime types, which is its own question bank.
So, for crime types, the system is asking you, or the measures are asking you, that based on the applications that you have listed or that you've reported you've received, you are instructed to associate them with a crime type. You would select the crimes that are applicable to the application and then the system will then ask for payment statistics based on each crime type that you've selected. For ease of functionality, you can select or deselect all the crimes by selecting checkbox at the top, here. If you've realized you messed up and you need to unselect all of them and start over, or if you know that all of these different crimes are associated with an application, you can select all of them at once.
If you do not select a crime type as you see on the screen, here, some crime types have not been selected, like kidnapping is not selected, you will then not have access to that crime type in the payment statistics page because it has not been selected. So, if you do want to provide payment statistics, you need to make sure that the crime type has been checked off on this page, right here. Then you will be directed to the payment statistics once you hit Save and Continue, and this is what the payment statistics page looks like. It has different tabs for the different crimes that you have selected in the previous page.
You will need to expand the different accordions for the different crimes, using the Plus sign on the right hand side of the screen. In order for the accordion of the payment statistics questions that pop up. You will need to indicate the total number of claims paid for that crime type. You will need to indicate the total amount paid during the reporting period for each expense category by crime type. You can include cents or you may round up to the nearest whole dollar if you'd like. This is what the payment statistics looks like once you expand that accordion that I showed you in the previous slide. And you will need to enter a number, the total number of claims paid related to each crime type. You will need to enter numbers into all of these categories, here, and this is where zero is acceptable if you did not provide any payment for a specific item that's listed, here.
You can enter whole numbers and you can also enter additional amounts into the Other category if none of the subcategories, here, are applicable for the payment that you provided but you are required to provide an explanation if any amounts have been entered into the Other category. You can indicate NA, not applicable, or NT, not tracked, as appropriate in these different categories and the system will prompt you and instruct you to do so and let you know that you can do that only in this payment statistics part of the report. And then there is a question about victimization related to crime types. For this specific category, you will need to indicate if any of the applications for which expenses were paid were related to a specific type of victimization. These are the different victimizations. It is difficult to read them, here, but I'll list a few of them. There's bullying, domestic and family violence, elder abuse and neglect, hate crimes, and mass violence. These are the different categories that we have for victimizations that we collect information on.
For information on the different crime types or victimization, we have a performance measure dictionary and terminology resource that we frequently refer our grantees to so they can learn more about the different OVC terms that are used when completing performance measure data for your award. Then we have question 10, which is the victimization ID process.
Question 10 is its own question bank and this asks you to explain the process used to identify the individuals counted in each of the given victimization types in question nine, in payment statistics. So, it's asking you how you've identified the different individuals. You can list out all that applies.
So, if multiple options apply, you can list those out. I'm going to read a few of them. Either the victim self-selected or self-identified or the victimization type was listed on the police report or staff analysts were able to identify the victimization type or associated with what the victimization types listed in our options is. So, once you've completed all your data, all these different question banks have been completed. You will be directed to the Review tab within the report.
The Review tab shows all the data that you've entered but it also shows the alerts where data was not entered or certain questions were not answered. You will scroll through and this scrolls through the entire report. If you're having difficulty viewing it on the screen, you can always select the Print button and then print it to PDF and then print it on paper so you can review it on paper if that's easier for you. Please look at the awards and look at the different words that are listed as required and select those so you can be directed to that specific question so you can provide a response. Once you've responded to all the questions and you have no more alerts that are listed in the Review tab, you will be able to submit your report and you will have access to the Confirmation tab in the Review tab.
The Confirmation tab looks like this. You will need to make sure that you mark your data entry as complete and then select the Save button. You have the option to provide additional comments to OVC around your report or the data that you provided if you feel the need to, but that it is not a requirement, you don't have to complete the comments if you don't have much to report on. Then you will hit the Save button and your report will be locked and submitted and marked as complete. If you need to unlock your report, please just contact the OVC Helpdesk and we'd be able to assist you with unlocking your report. So, now we want to talk a little bit about the Annual Narrative Report.
The Annual Narrative Report will only be available to our grantees in the last reporting quarter of the fiscal year. That is a reporting quarter that opens up in October, on October 1 and is available until December 30. This is when you need to ensure that your reports are completed and submitted into PMT and JustGrants. This is when you will have access to the narrative questions. The questions are asked once a year, during the, as you see on the screen, July to September reporting period. However, they cover activities, you're required to respond based on the activities and the data that occurred during the entire federal fiscal year. Again, their annual questions, they're asking about data reported in all four quarters of the fiscal year and not only the last quarter that you're reporting the numbers on.
You can enter up to 5,000 characters in each response box. That does include spaces, so be mindful of that, and also please remember to Save periodically because you could lose all your responses if you don't Save periodically.
One tip that I always used to use is, I used to complete my responses in a Word document and then I would copy and paste them into the PMT answer fields. However, you need to ensure that you are adhering to the character limit so you don't lose any of the data because the system will not notify you that your response doesn't fit. It will just cut out the rest of your response and not notify you, so you could lose information that way. So, be mindful of that. OVC Grant Management Specialists are looking for comprehensive annual reports. They are looking for an impactful report.
What makes an annual response or narrative response powerful or impactful and comprehensive is ensuring that you provide a certain level of detail and you share with OVC as much as possible around any information that you have, whether it's describing any conditions that affected your goals and objectives, or describing significant outreach efforts and how funds were publicized at the state and local level to raise awareness, or anything that you can describe that you think would be important for your Grant Managers to know.
You also can indicate and should in indicate if you are on track, if you've been able to fulfill your goals and objectives, and if you have any unmet needs or any challenges that you've encountered that have either hindered your progress or prevented you from completing as many applications as you'd like or assisting as many victims as you'd like or resulted in denying applications or not being able to process applications. You also should highlight any collaborative victim services and multidisciplinary work that you've completed, any major accomplishments, any increases in services or in applications that you've received in your quarterly data set for OVC. The best way to, to put this is by bragging about the incredible work that you all do.
We know our OVC grantees are extremely busy and they work very, very hard for the victim services field and we want to hear about that and the best way to share that with OVC is through those narrative responses, where you can explain the quantitative data.
Here are some examples, of responses. As you can see, here, some of them would be ones I would ask you to steer clear of, such as saying for this specific question that asks, were there are any laws, initiatives, or policy changes in your state regarding Victim Compensation during the reporting period, saying no program policies were changed during the reporting period.
Even though that might be true, it is, you can certainly provide further information, such as the example number three where it shows that this organization continues to evaluate its policies and procedures, although no changes were finalized during the reporting period. They go on to explain additional items that are being finalized or that are happening in the coming months to help OVC understand where they are in the level of effort that they've completed.
It's also important to share any match waiver policy changes, or drafts, or updates, or any laws. When you're explaining, or when you're highlighting, any changes in the law be sure to be as descriptive as possible and include as much information as you can, such as the title of the law, the date that it went into effect, and any additional information you can provide so OVC can look into that information if they have any questions or if they want to inquire more about what you've shared. Here are some tips for annual narratives.
Make sure your responses are powerful and effective and ask your team to contribute stories, Annual Narrative Responses and the Annual Grantee Report should not fall on one person's shoulders. If you have a team working on your Victim Compensation applications, they should all be working together to provide responses to OVC around activities that took place over the entire fiscal year. It is difficult for one individual to remember everything that has happened and be able to speak to everything that happened in four quarters.
If you come together as a team and work on the responses as a team, you will have a more powerful narrative to share with OVC. Be sure not to copy and paste narrative responses from prior years. Your Grant Managers know that they have access to all the years of annual reports and, they can put reports side by side, and be able to mirror who's, who's copying and pasting from one year to another. That is just not helpful. It's not helpful for you all as you're reviewing your past year of activity and it's not helpful for OVC when they're reviewing these reports.
Make sure that the narrative answers do not exceed the character limit because, again, the system does cut them off without notifying you that you've been cut off. So, you, may have thought you shared something with your Grant Manager but unfortunately you didn’t because you did not adhere to the 5,000 character limit and now half of it has been cut off. Be specific. Use evidence from the PMT data.
An example, here, would be in the past year, we've had a 25 percent decrease in homicide claims and an increase in assault claims from 56 to 87. That is a great example of how to use the data and how to explain the data to OVC throughout the different quarters and this can help you really understand your own work over the past year and help you gauge where you are and set new goals and strategically plan for the next year of your VOCA compensation grant activity. Be sure not to include any personally identifiable information in the report. That includes information that could be compiled to identify an individual. That doesn't only mean not to include a name or a social security number. Be sure to redact any information that that could identify any individual that you've assisted. Be sure to train your staff on the OVC performance measures and hold your State Administering Agency staff accountable for providing comprehensive responses to OVC. Not providing NA, NA not applicable, is not an acceptable response and, again, copying and pasting from prior years is also not an acceptable response and we should hold each other accountable and hold staff members accountable when that is done.
Also, our last tip is around hyperlinks to news media. If you are sharing any information with OVC around hyperlinks, whether it's for registration subscriptions or any trainings or something that is online, instead be sure to just summarize what you are speaking to instead of providing the links because they could expire, they could no longer be available, or there's a lot of room for error where your Grant Manager may not be able to open those links.
And for the Annual Grantee Report, this is where you will go to the Reports tab once you've completed your report, once you've completed your narrative questions and you've submitted your narrative questions, you will go to the Reports tab and you will identify the annual report. And it's listed, here, at the reporting period for you and then you will navigate to the PDF and you will download the PDF of the Annual Grantee Report on your computer and then you will upload a copy of that PDF to JustGrants as an attachment by December 30 of the year.
Be sure that you've completed all four quarters of data and also completed your narrative questions. Be sure when you select that PDF that you scroll through to ensure that all the quarters are there and all the narrative questions are there. You should only be providing one attachment in JustGrants. You should not be attaching narrative responses as Word documents or anything like that. Only the Annual Grantee Report that's generated in PDF is the acceptable submission in JustGrants.
So, we are nearing the end of our session. I will share resources with you in a moment, but I do want to let you know that we have an upcoming narrative writing training on November 10. This training will also be recorded. It will be posted on our webpage similarly to this one, so you will have access to it at a later time, as well. But during this session we will be discussing the different reporting narrative questions.
We will be discussing different examples of responses and what powerful and strong responses are versus what responses that either are unacceptable or are lacking information would look like. So, please be sure to join us. Encourage other staff members to join us, as well, so you can learn more. Additional resources are available on our webpage for our Victim Compensation grantees under the Victim Assistance and Compensation grantee performance measures. You can have a list, you can find the list of the performance measures, the user guide on how to use the PMT system, and we have recorded trainings and webinars much like this one that are available on the webpage, as well.
If you need any additional information, be sure to reach out to us. First, check out our printed resources on our webpage but if you have any more in-depth questions, reach out to us.
We are more than happy to hear from you, whether it's through our helpdesk, through a ticket or a call, or if you'd like to schedule a Welcome to PMT or to Performance Measure and Management session for any new staff members or a Team Building session around PMT and the performance measures for your staff or even an individual one-on-one session. We are more than happy to work with you to get that set up.
Sessions can be between minutes to an hour, depending on how much time you need and we're more than happy to work with your schedule to ensure that we can accommodate your needs.
I wanted to share our contact information. We are the OVC PMT Helpdesk. We provide support to our grantees around performance management, performance measures, and the PMT platform. And we also have a separate team that is the JustGrants team that is responsible for all things JustGrants related, in case you need assistance from them, as well. I've included their contact information, here, as well. I want to thank you for spending this past hour with me.
Thank you for your patience. I know this was a lot of information and I know I spoke fast. Just wanted to make sure we got through all of our information. But please let us know if you have any questions, reach out to us, we'd love to hear from you, and thank you for joining us and good luck with your reporting.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.