Organizational Standards: IM 138 Released

As many of you have seen, IM 138 was released by the U.S. Office of Community Services (OCS) which provides guidance and responsibilities for the establishment of Organizational Standards for the CSBG Network. These Standards reflect more than two years of work led by the Community Action Partnership. The goal of the Standards is to establish a set of good management practices that every Community Action Agency should meet to demonstrate adequate organizational capacity while delivering services to low-income persons. The 58 Standards are divided into three thematic areas: 1) Maximum Feasible Participation, 2) Vision and Direction, and 3) Operations and Accountability. Together, these areas represent minimum threshold requirements that will ensure the CSBG Network can continue to improve the lives of those we serve.
Some key items to note include:
  • State CSBG lead agencies (Office of Community Assistance/OCA) are responsible for establishing and communicating expectations for organizational standards to eligible entities across a State, assessing the status of Standards among all of the eligible entities annually, and reporting to OCS on the Standards in the CSBG Annual Report
  • In cases where the eligible entity may be able to meet the Standard in a reasonable time frame contingent on some targeted technical assistance, the State and entity may develop a technical assistance plan to target  training and technical assistance resources and outline a time frame for the entity to meet the Standard(s)
  • OCS and States do not have the authority under the CSBG Act to bypass the process described in CSBG IM 116 in order to re-compete CSBG funding based on failure to meet Organizational Standards
  • States must integrate the Standards into their State Plan beginning in FY 2016, which is due to OCS on September 2, 2015
While the IM 138 includes a large number of Standards, many agencies throughout Ohio’s CAA network are already implementing many of them. For others, your state T&TA provider, OCATO, can help. Below are some free resources to get you started on Standards with which you are less familiar. For further assistance, contact Josh Summer.
IM 138 Resources:


Josh, Development Director, has over a decade of experience in organizational development and planning. He is a Certified ROMA trainer, Technology of Participation (ToP) certified strategic planner and facilitates board training and poverty simulations. Josh has presented organizational sustainability at local, regional, and national conferences. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison’s School of Human Ecology where focused his studies on financial literacy and consumer education. As the Development Director, Josh is responsible for creating new partnerships with community organizations, other social services providers, government entities, corporation and potential funders. He is also responsible for funding research, grant writing, and program design and evaluation.