The Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) traditionally uses onsite monitoring to monitor its grantees. However, in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, CPD shifted to 100 percent remote monitoring. Monitoring was momentarily paused in fiscal year (FY) 2020 and was reinstituted remotely in FY 2021.
To support its remote monitoring approach, CPD launched the Grantee Document Exchange (GDX), an externally accessible portal application that allows grantees and CPD to securely share documents during monitoring sessions. CPD trained its employees on the remote monitoring process, including on GDX. In a survey that we conducted on CPD employees’ experiences using remote monitoring, most CPD employees reported that the guidance, mentoring, or technical support prepared them well to monitor remotely. CPD’s Office of Field Management (OFM) delegated the responsibility of training grantees on remote monitoring to their respective field offices. Additionally, OFM issued materials with instructions to grantees on how to use GDX.
Overall, most CPD employees found remote monitoring to be somewhat or very effective in achieving CPD’s monitoring objective. However, CPD employees faced challenges and limitations with remote monitoring related to safeguarding personally identifiable information, the duration of remote monitoring sessions, and the ability to verify physical assets effectively.
Going forward, CPD has opportunities to use remote monitoring judiciously and provide its employees with additional guidance on how to use remote monitoring to further its monitoring objectives. In CPD’s formal comments, CPD indicated that it had begun taking action in this direction.