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Local government community grants - process toolkit

One useful way to approach the development and administration of community grants is illustrated below.

Additional guidance is available in the Auditor-General's Report to Parliament No.7 for 2008 - Administration of Grants and Funding to Community Organisations by Local Government in Queensland, in particular Section 5 Appendices, pages 23 to 26.

Local government grants process

Step-by-step checklists

The checklists provided below summarise the key components of each of this six-stage process.

    • Align the grants program with council's strategic goals.
    • Adopt a policy that will properly articulate the intent and goals.
    • Apply a consistent and transparent approach to all of the grants across the organisation.
    • Document the aims and objectives of the grant program.
    • Use performance measures to provide meaningful assessment of the grant program.
    • Consider risk management.
    • Determine the decision-making process for grants.
    • Determine the assessment criteria prior to receiving applications.
    • Prepare plain English guidelines for the community for the grant program.
    • Develop application forms.
    • Prepare funding agreements which address the risks.
    • Raise community awareness and encourage applications - include information about the types of grants, eligibility criteria, application processes and timeframes.
    • Consider providing information sessions for community organisations regarding grant sources.
    • Publicly advertise the grants program including guidelines and closing dates for applications.
    • Ensure the policy is available for inspection by the public at the local government office and on the council's website.
    • Establish procedures to avoid potential conflicts of interest (actual and perceived) by anyone (staff or councillors) involved in the assessment and selection of grants.
    • Establish a clear process to receive and acknowledge applications and deal with late applications.
    • Develop a compliance check list to assess applications against predetermined criteria.
    • Establish procedures to prevent 'double dipping' by grant recipients, e.g. include specific questions on the application form.
    • Outline the process to follow when approving a grant to a community organisation.
    • Document decisions properly.
    • Ensure there is a process to advise successful and unsuccessful applicants of outcomes.
    • Have formal agreements in place.
    • Set out the governance arrangements to formally monitor and report the benefits of the grants program for the community.
    • Maintain good records to identify higher risk grants which require monitoring.
    • Decide how to manage unspent grants or grant money not appropriately spent.
    • Develop a practical acquittal process and advise grant recipients.
    • Implement a procedure to manage non-acquittals including regular review and, where appropriate, cessation of grant funding.
    • Ensure grantees promote the community grant program and acknowledge council as the provider of the grant.
    • Understand the objectives of the evaluation.
    • Determine how best to assess the quantitative and qualitative outcomes of the program (e.g. outcome reports by grant recipients; collection of data against relevant performance indicators such as participation rates, economic activity or environmental targets).
    • Undertake a review of administrative costs.
    • Report the results of the evaluation to council.

Last updated: 09 Nov 2021