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.
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