Best Practices for Disaster Recovery Dashboards

SP Group has designed a best practices checklist for developing and evaluating funding dashboards for the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program.

On June 7, 2018, The House Committee on Financial Services approved the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2018 (H.R. 4557), to permanently authorize the CDBG-DR Program.  The bill included provisions designed to increase the efficiency, accountability and transparency in the allocation and use of disaster recovery funds. The bill requires that each grantee  “maintain comprehensive and publicly accessible websites that make available information regarding all disaster recovery activities assisted with such funds.” 

SP Group believes that funding dashboards are a useful tool for tracking and understanding disaster recovery progress, maximizing impact and avoiding duplication and imbalances given the increased emphasis on accountability and transparency in H.R. 4557.  Dashboards can help stakeholders and the public understand where programs, like CDBG-DR, fit within the mosaic of recovery funding and what the funding is being used for. This knowledge is invaluable to those implementing and receiving disaster-related activities to ensure the greatest impact among those most in need of help.

SP Group has compiled a list of best practices and designed a checklist for developing comprehensive CDBG-DR funding dashboards. You can download SP Group’s checklist here – the checklist includes examples of how it can be utilized for evaluating funding dashboard effectiveness. CDBG-DR recipients can utilize the checklist to develop a funding tracker that incorporates best practices and fulfills the requirements under H.R. 4557 for increased accountability and transparency.  

The Government Accountability Office has stated that the periodic evaluation and reporting of recovery progress is key and can help improve policy and operation effectiveness of recovery efforts.  Numerous HUD OIG reports found that localities have not operated their disaster recovery programs effectively, efficiently or in accordance with requirements.  Our list incorporates lessons learned from previous natural disasters where disaster recovery funding was either misspent or unspent, even after a long period of time.

Our list of best practices incorporates seven principles for gold-standard tracking:

  1. Make Underlying Data and Methodology Available
  2. Consider the End Users’ Primary Needs and Skill Levels
  3. Overlay Additional Data Sources for Context
  4. Show the WHAT and the WHERE of Allocated/ Disbursed Funds
  5. Show the Estimated/Achieved Impact of Funding
  6. Update in Real Time or on a Regular Schedule
  7. Tie back to the Approved Action Plan(s)

SP Group’s Checklist (click photo to download excel template):

SP Group has extensive experience in developing oversight and compliance checklists, as well as building dashboards for program management. We have also built a Disaster Recovery Tool that can be combined with or modified to include CDBG-DR funding data.