South Australia’s Local Government Grants Network has produced a guide to help councils manage grants.
The Best Practice Guide was commissioned by the network, which represents grant officers from 16 councils. LGSA says while local government grants can offer many opportunities for communities, processes are often inconsistent, time-consuming and riddled with red tape.
The document provides information, guidelines, templates and references and covers policy and governance, administration, record keeping, risk assessment and management, approval and acquittal processes, forward planning, involvement of elected members, eligibility criteria and round-specific objectives.
“Good grant attraction and grant making practices contribute in a meaningful way to the creation of fair, just, democratic and prosperous communities,” it says.
“The Guide is intended to assist South Australian councils to build capacity and increase sustainability through integrating best practice in the grant making administration cycle.
“It is hoped the Guide will assist councils with performance assessment and continuous improvement.”
There are also two grant contract templates included with the guide, which were drafted by a legal practitioner, however, the guide is not mandatory policy.
The templates contain a number of fields to be completed by the relevant council, along with a number of variables for different clauses which must be selected for the grant.
Developing the guide
In 2020, the LG SA Grants Network obtained a grant from the Local Government Research and Development Scheme to develop the guide..
It’s informed by desktop research, LG Grants Network members, a survey responded to by 80 local government officers in September 2021 and three online consultation sessions in October 2021.
“Local government is both a funder and an applicant for grant funding. Good grant attraction and grant making practices contribute in a meaningful way to the creation of fair, just, democratic and prosperous communities,” the website says.
“Appropriate consideration and planning of a grant scheme can support the achievement of value for money and a council’s desired outcomes.
“A well-planned scheme also reduces preventable risks to councils while avoiding disproportionate red tape for applicants.”
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