CSBG DCL 2019-09 Annual Report - What We Have Learned

Publication Date: April 16, 2019

Community Services Block Grant

Dear Colleague Letter

DCL#: CSBG-DCL-2019-09

DATE: February 16, 2019

TO: CSBG State Grantees

SUBJECT: CSBG Annual Report — What We Have Learned

ATTACHMENT(S): Not Applicable


Dear Colleagues,

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Annual Report is due April 30, 2019, which means that we are just about two weeks away. The Office of Community Services (OCS) would like to take a moment to provide some lessons learned during this submission period.

Attachment File Types

Module 1

Module 1 allows for cell-level attachments. These are attachments to a specific question. While Module 1 allows for different file types, we request that all Module 1 attachments are PDF, when possible. Additionally, OCS requests that all filenames include the related question number, the question header (when applicable), and a distinguishing description. For example, using the image below as an example, the filename would be: G.3a State Assurance of CSBG Eligible Entity Linkages and Coordination Additional Information.

This is an image of the question G.3a, State Assurance of CSBG Eligible Entity Linkages and Coordination, within the CSBG AnnualModule 3

Module 3 allows for form-level attachments. These are attachments to the actual form rather than a specific question. All Module 3 SmartForms should be attached as a XLSM. This is the file type that the SmartForms are sent as, and they should not be converted or saved as a different file type. The filename should be:

FY18_[State]_M3_[Entity Name]_[Agency DUNS]_[Number of Initiative] of [Total Number of Initiatives].

For example, if the OCS were the state lead agency and has two initiatives, the name of the files would be as follows:

Initiative 1: FY18_DC_M3_DCA_123456789_1of2 Initiative 2: FY18_DC_M3_DEA_234567891_2of2

Modules 2 and 4

Modules 2 and 4 also allow form level attachments. As you may be aware, the comments feature is not exporting into the On-Line Data Collection system (OLDC) forms. In the case that you do have comments that you would like to provide in advance, please compile them into a Word or Excel document, and attach them to the correct Module. If you are submitting a comment form per entity, please use the same naming convention as above:

FY18_[State]_M2_[Entity Name]_[Entity DUNS]_[Number of Comment Form] of [Total Number of Comment Forms]

If you are just submitting one comment form per module, please be sure to identify the entity for each comment, and use the following naming convention:


Report Data Upload

Prior to accessing Module 2 and 4 through the Report Form Entry, you must first upload the XMLs through Report Data Upload function. The Report Data Upload is located on the left-hand side of the OLDC homepage under Report Form Entry. This functionality has to be added to each person individually. While our developer has made every attempt to add this functionality to everyone, we understand that there are some who do not have access. If you or a colleague do not have access to this functionality, please send an email to Monique Alcantara and Niki Frazier requesting access.

In order to submit Modules 2 and 4, once you access the Report Data Upload:

  1. Select the Program Name: Community Services Block Grant
  2. Select the Grantee Name: [Your state]
  3. Select the Report Name: either Module 2 or Module 4
    1. (Note: you must upload each XML under the correct Module — i.e., Module 2 XMLs can only be uploaded under Module 2)
  4. Select the Report Period: 10/01/2017 — 09/30/2018
  5. Once you have completed all of the fields, you will then see a box; you can drag and drop multiple files at once into the box or select files one-by-one by selecting “here”.
  1. (Note: if you open the My Upload Status (by hitting the plus sign), you will see whether the uploads have failed or saved. This sometimes takes some time — just hit Refresh and the files will appear.)
  1. Once you are done adding all of the XMLs for each Module, return to the OLDC homepage.
  2. From OLDC home, you will select Report Form Entry from the left-hand side of the screen, then select the report Module, view, validate, and submit each Module.

Failed XMLs and Uploads

Special Characters

The most common reason Modules 2 and 4 XMLs fail to upload is due to incorrect characters being used within the fields of the SmartForm. The majority of fields within the SmartForm only allows for numeric response, but no narrative text of any sort. For the fields that allow narrative text, such as the comment fields, there are five special characters that are not allowed. These are as follows:

  • Ampersand (&),
  • Greater-than (>),
  • Lesser-than (
  • Quotation Marks (“”), and
  • Apostrophe (’).

Using an incorrect character will not cause the XML export to fail. However, it will cause the XML upload into OLDC to fail. In order to avoid this, do not use any of the special characters listed above in any fields. For numeric responses, only use numbers (commas are okay, and the SmartForm will automatically format the number correctly).

Failed XML Export

The most common cause for a failed XML export is due to macros being disabled. Macros are programming on the back end of the form that allows for certain functionality to occur. If macros are not enabled, the form will not function as expected. Upon opening the SmartForm, there will be a yellow bar instructing you to “enable editing.”

Screenshot showing top of Module 2 SmartForm displaying yellow instruction bar:

Once you click “enable editing”, the macros should be enabled. However, if you enable the macros, and then that yellow bar is replaced with a red bar stating “blocked content”, this means that macros are disabled by your IT office. If this is the case, please first contact your IT office to see if they are able to provide special permission. If your IT office is not able to correct this, please send an email to Monique Alcantara and Niki Frazier, as well as Katy Kujawski and Kyle Gasser of the National Association of State Community Services Programs (NASCSP).

Screenshot of top of Module 2 SmartForm displaying instructional note:

If upon opening the SmartForm the “enable editing” bar does not appear, the macros are disabled. In this case, please send one email to Monique Alcantara and Niki Frazier, as well as Katy Kujawski and Kyle Gasser of NASCSP. Disabled macros will not allow the XML to export properly.

Additionally, SmartForms must be saved as an xlsm. When saving the file, do not change the file type as this will automatically disable the macros, and will not allow the XML to export properly.

Failed XML Upload

In the case that you try to upload the XML and it fails, we ask that you first review the SmartForm to check for any special characters as listed above. If there are no special characters found within the SmartForm, please send the failed SmartForm(s) and XML(s) to Monique Alcantara and Niki Frazier, as well as Katy Kujawski and Kyle Gasser of NASCSP.


As a reminder, each Module must be submitted separately within OLDC. Each Module can be selected from the Report Name dropdown. The Annual Report does not required certification by the Authorized Official. Upon completing each Module, be sure to validate, and then click submit. While the Data Entry person is able to do the final validation, only the Grant Administrator is able to submit.

Thank you for your attention and OCS looks forward to continuing to provide high quality services to OCS grantees.

Seth Hassett
Director, Division of Community Assistance
Office of Community Services

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