Developing guidelines for granting activities

Clear, consistent and well-documented grant guidelines are important for effective grants administration. They help to ensure that granting activities are transparent, accountable and equitable.

Officials must develop grant guidelines for all new and revised granting activities. These guidelines must be consistent with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines. Guidelines must be made publicly available, including on entity websites, where people and organisations are able to identify and apply for a grant.

At a minimum, grant guidelines should provide potential grant applicants access to adequate information to submit a grant application. The guidelines should also include the granting activity objectives; the assessment processes; reporting and acquittal requirements; and a description of review mechanisms.

Finance has developed the checklist below to assist officials in preparing guidelines for grant programmes or ongoing granting activities.

One-off or Ad Hoc grants

Grant guidelines are required for all grants, including one-off or ad hoc grants. However, the format, complexity and approval processes may vary, depending on the grant.

For example, if an entity provides a sponsorship grant, and this sponsorship doesn’t fall within an existing grant programme, then officials may either develop overarching guidelines that would cover all sponsorships, or develop specific guidelines attached or incorporated into a brief to the decision-maker or sponsorship letter. These guidelines will greatly differ from those prepared for grant programmes, as the proportionality principle would suggest that they should be simpler and shorter.

At a minimum, guidelines for one-off or ad hoc grants should include the purpose or description of the granting activity, the objectives, the selection process, any reporting and acquittal requirements and any evaluation mechanisms.

Guidelines for one-off or ad hoc grants that do not fall within a programme do not need to be published on an entity’s website, and are not subject to the mandatory processes relating to approval of new or revised programme guidelines. 

The Grants Policy Team in Finance provides advice to entities preparing grant guidelines, and can assist officials in determining appropriate processes for one-off and ad hoc grants.

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Contact for information on this page: grants@finance.gov.au

Last updated: 15 June 2015