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Grants Administration & Management

Allocating public funds through funding programs has been under scrutiny, including recent Parliamentary inquiries, Audit Office reviews and investigations by anti-corruption agencies. At OCM, we assist agencies to ensure they demonstrate a robust, effective process in making grant funding decisions.

Grant Program Planning & Design

Government agencies use grants to achieve policy objectives by supporting individuals and organisations to deliver outcomes for the community.

Ensuring a funding program is fit for purpose relies on good planning and design. Importantly, it aligns the program with policy objectives that have been set by Government. Good grant program design identifies which kinds of entities will assist Government to meet its policy objectives.

OCM works with all levels of Government to review and consider grant program policy objectives. We also work with agencies to design the program to ensure there is maximum flexibility whilst maintaining a robust process to demonstrate the policy objectives are being met. This includes ensuring there is a clear governance and decision-making structure for the program which reflects on the review findings from various Audit Office performance audits and Parliamentary inquiries.

Probity Oversight

As has been confirmed in recent reviews and inquiries into grants, the community rightly expects that grants deliver public value as well as adhere to the highest standards of integrity and probity.

OCM is a market leading probity advisor to government grant programs. Having provided probity services to over $5 billion in grants processes run by Australian state and federal agencies, we ensure grants risks are appropriately managed.

Through the provision of independent oversight over the process, we ensure assessment of grant applications are undertaken in a consistent manner and assessment outcomes are linked to evidence and objective criteria. Equity throughout the process assists agencies to demonstrate applicants have been treated in a fair and impartial manner, with no pre-determined outcomes.

Financial Capacity Checks

OCM assists agencies in performing financial capacity checks as part of the due diligence activities on applicants for funding programs. These activities assist in confirming grant applicants are genuine, financially viable and of good repute and integrity. In other words, whether the grant applicant is capable of delivering on the grant’s intended outcomes.

These services can be provided as standalone services on a grant program or as part of the overall governance, probity and ethics advice on the program.

Grant Acquittal & Assurance

Consistent with the internal audit work undertaken as part of our assurance practice, agencies should build into their audit plans regular audits of grant programs to confirm compliance with the relevant jurisdiction’s guidelines.

Further, many agencies also look to build grant acquittal processes into their program. An acquittal is the process of evaluating and reporting on the outcomes and expenditure of funds provided via a grant. For an agency, acquittals are also a useful way to assess a grant program’s operations, efficacy, strengths and weaknesses.

Grants Administration

Similar to a procurement process, the OCM team works with our government clients to manage a grant program on behalf of the agency. This involves the development of the Program Guidelines and associated documents, the administration of the application receipting process, the assessment of applications and documentation of the recommendations for the allocation of grant funding.

We work with agencies to design a streamlined grants administration process, the design of which is commensurate to the level of risk and value of the grants being provided – i.e. low risk and low value grants should not require the same commitment and requirements from applicants in order to facilitate efficient and effective allocation of funds.

Grant Program Governance

Good grant governance is about ensuring the design of the program is sufficient to support the achievement of intended outcomes. At OCM, we work with our clients to provide practical advice and solutions in relation to:

  • evidence-based advice on the program design which considers matters arising from audits, reviews and inquiries to ensure the program governance is robust;
  • how an agency can demonstrate that the grant program governance and planning supports the achievement of objectives;
  • building a framework to enable the benefits of the grant program to be measured, and to demonstrate that the key program deliverables have been achieved;
  • adherence to State and Federal legislative requirements including the relevant jurisdiction’s guidance material and rules; as well as the PGPA Act and the relevant Resource Management Guides;
  • establishment of business processes and workflows to ensure robust record keeping, management of grants data and adherence to delegations grants; and
  • streamlining grants administration processes.

Training & Online Modules

OCM has developed online modules for our clients on the grant process, probity risks associated with grants, program design and development, and the application assessment process. We also deliver face-to-face training packages for specific grants, and for building grant-making capability among specialist staff.

We have worked with our government clients, across all jurisdictions, to tailor these modules specifically for the agency to ensure all grant program team members are aware of the risks and are briefed on how these risks should be managed.

Our expert

Sarah Mullins