7 CFR 248.17 - Management evaluations and reviews.
(a) General. FNS and each State agency shall establish a management evaluation system in order to assess the accomplishment of FMNP objectives as provided under these regulations, the State Plan, and the written agreement with the Department. FNS will provide assistance to State agencies in discharging this responsibility, and will establish standards and procedures to determine how well the objectives of this part are being accomplished, and implement sanction procedures as warranted by State FMNP performance.
(b) Responsibilities of FNS. FNS shall establish evaluation procedures to determine whether State agencies carry out the purposes and provisions of this part, the State Plan, and the written agreement with the Department. As a part of the evaluation procedure, FNS shall review audits to ensure that the FMNP has been included in audit examinations at a reasonable frequency. These evaluations shall also include reviews of selected local agencies, and on-site reviews of selected farmers, farmers' markets and roadside stands. These evaluations will measure the State agency's progress toward meeting the objectives outlined in its State Plan and the State agency's compliance with these regulations.
(1) If FNS determines that the State agency has failed, without good cause, to demonstrate efficient and effective administration of its FMNP or has failed to comply with the requirements contained in this section or the State Plan, FNS may withhold an amount up to 100 percent of the State agency's administrative grant.
(2) Sanctions imposed upon a State agency by FNS in accordance with this section (but not claims for repayment assessed against a State agency) may be appealed in accordance with the procedures established in § 248.20. Before carrying out any sanction against a State agency, the following procedures will be followed:
(i) FNS will notify the chief departmental officer of the administering agency in writing of the deficiencies found and of FNS' intention to withhold administrative funds unless an acceptable corrective action plan is submitted by the State agency to FNS within 45 days after mailing of notification.
(ii) The State agency shall develop a corrective action plan, including timeframes for implementation to address the deficiencies and prevent their future recurrence.
(iii) If the corrective action plan is acceptable, FNS will notify the chief departmental officer of the administering agency in writing within 30 days of receipt of the plan. The letter will advise the State agency of the sanctions to be imposed if the corrective action plan is not implemented according to the schedule set forth in the approved plan.
(iv) Upon notification from the State agency that corrective action has been taken, FNS will assess such action, and if necessary, perform a follow-up review to determine if the noted deficiencies have been corrected. FNS will then advise the State agency of whether the actions taken are in compliance with the corrective action plan, and whether the deficiency is resolved or further corrective action is needed. Compliance buys can be required if, during FNS management evaluations by regional offices, a State agency is found to be out of compliance with its responsibility to monitor and review farmers, farmers' markets and roadside stands.
(v) If an acceptable corrective action plan is not submitted within 45 days, or if corrective action is not completed according to the schedule established in the corrective action plan, FNS may withhold the award of FMNP administrative funds. If the 45-day warning period ends in the fourth quarter of a fiscal year, FNS may elect not to withhold funds until the next fiscal year. FNS will notify the chief departmental officer of the administering State agency.
(vi) If compliance is achieved before the end of the fiscal year in which the FMNP administrative funds are withheld, the funds withheld may be restored to the State agency. FNS is not required to restore funds withheld beyond the end of the fiscal year for which the funds were initially awarded.
(c) Responsibilities of State agencies. The State agency is responsible for meeting the following requirements:
(1) The State agency shall establish evaluation and review procedures and document the results of such procedures. The procedures shall include, but are not limited to:
(i) Annual monitoring reviews of participating farmers, farmers' markets and roadside stands, including on-site reviews of a minimum of 10 percent of farmers, 10 percent of farmers' markets, and 10 percent of roadside stands, which includes those farmers, farmers' markets, and roadside stands identified as being the highest risk. First year of operation in the FMNP shall be considered a high-risk indicator. More frequent reviews may be performed as the State agency deems necessary.
(ii) Conducting monitoring reviews of all local agencies within the State agency's jurisdiction at least once every 2 years. Monitoring of local agencies shall encompass, but not be limited to, evaluation of management, accountability, certification, nutrition education, financial management systems, and coupon management systems. WIC State agency reviews of local agencies conducted for the WIC Program may contribute to meeting the FMNP requirement that all local agencies be reviewed once every two years if the reviews include reviews of FMNP practices. When the WIC State agency conducts a review of the local agency outside of the FMNP season, a review of documents and procedural plans of the FMNP, rather than actual FMNP activities, is acceptable.
(iii) Instituting the necessary follow-up procedures to correct identified problem areas.
(2) On its own initiative or when required by FNS, the State agency shall provide special reports on FMNP activities, and take positive action to correct deficiencies in FMNP operations.