- Abbreviations and Glossary
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Legislative and policy framwork for grants administration
- 3. Identifying the decision-making roles and responsibilities
- 4. How will potential funding recipients access the program?
- 5. Developing program guidelines and procedures
- 6. Implementing the selection process
- 7. Administering approved grants
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Grants administration is an important activity for many Commonwealth entities involving the payment of many billions of public funds each year. In the light of the significant outlay of public funds and the issues arising from our audit coverage, since 1994 the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has published a Better Practice Guide on the administration of grants to encourage better administrative outcomes.
The earlier versions of this Better Practice Guide published in 1994, 1997 and 2002 had been prepared to provide practical assistance to those involved with the planning, project selection, management and review of Commonwealth grant programs. They also provided a normative model against which performance audits of grant programs would assess entity performance.
This current version of the Grants Administration Better Practice Guide has similar purposes, but has been prepared in a very different environment. Specifically, an enhanced legislative and policy framework for grants administration came into full effect on 1 July 2009. The new framework has a particular focus on the establishment of transparent and accountable decision-making processes for the awarding of grants. It includes a number of mandatory requirements, as well as outlining, in the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines, various better practice principles. This revised Better Practice Guide has been designed to complement the new framework for grants administration by providing a companion reference point that will assist decision-makers and administering agencies to understand and comply with their obligations and implement the better practice principles, having regard to the particular circumstances of individual grant programs.
When releasing the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines, the Finance Minister observed that, in his view, the administration of grant programs had become significantly debased and expressed the desire that the new framework would improve the quality of grants administration and ensure Australian taxpayers receive the best possible outcomes from Commonwealth grants. I support these sentiments, and hope that this revised Better Practice Guide can contribute to improved decision-making and more efficient and effective administration of approved grants. The ANAO will continue to include performance audits of grant programs in our work program; these audits will provide an opportunity to monitor the extent to which the enhanced framework is having the desired effect, as well as to identify any opportunities to further improve the framework.
Finally, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all those who have contributed to the development of the revised Guide. I would also like to acknowledge the valuable contribution to improving grants administration made by the 2008 Strategic Review of the Administration of Australian Government Grant Programs, as well as the collaborative approach taken by the Department of Finance and Deregulation in engaging with ANAO during the development of the new framework in response to the findings and recommendations of the Strategic Review.
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