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Health Check

Goals, Governance and Guidelines

Goals & Governance

  • Are the program’s ownership, purpose, goals, and expected outcomes clearly and fully articulated?

Program Design and Guidelines

  • Is the overall program approach fully and clearly documented (including stakeholders, management structure, target groups, focus on established or emerging organisations, focus on capacity building, the use of competitive tender processes or not)?
  • Are diagrams and flow charts included where appropriate?

Eligibility Criteria

  • Is the information you need to determine the eligibility of applications and to then assess them clear?
  • Are the eligibility and assessment criteria clear?
  • Does your application form include any extraneous/unnecessary questions?

Record keeping

Creating a Record Keeping System

  • Do record-keeping structures and processes enable grants managers to track applicants from the first point of contact?
  • Do they support monitoring, reporting and acquittal processes?

Application process

Designing The Application Form and Process

  • Is the application process (including timeframes and documentation) appropriate to the:
    • level and size of the grants
    • requirements, capabilities & capacities of the intended target group
    • relationship the program owners wish to build with the grantee
    • preferences of stakeholders for passive or active approaches
    • preferences and capacities for rolling applications versus application rounds?

Promoting The Program

  • Do you have a promotions and communications strategy?
  • Will it ensure the program reaches the intended grantee target group in the language and mediums appropriate to them, and also meets the requirements of all key stakeholders, including promoting the grant owners?

Assessment and decision making

Assessing the applications and making recommendations

  • Is it clear how and when applications will be assessed (e.g. criteria, assessment centres, on or off line, compliance checks)?
  • Will the application process fulfil stakeholders’ objectivity, transparency and accountability objectives and requirements?
  • Is it clear how the assessment of applications will be managed?
  • Will the assessment report rank applicants; will it highlight cut-off points against grant resources available; will it be sorted according to a range of weighted variables?
  • Will the application assessment process comply with stakeholders’ objectivity, transparency and accountability requirements?

Deciding who will receive a grant

  • Is it clear who makes the decision about who will receive the grants and when and by what method those decisions will be made?
  • Is there an appeal process (if appropriate) for unsuccessful applicants?

Advising the outcomes

Announcing the successful applicants

  • Is there a formal process in place for advising and announcing successful applicants?
  • Does the process take into account the needs and sensitivities of all stakeholders?

Advising the unsuccessful applicants

  • Is there a formal process in place for advising unsuccessful applicants of the outcome of their application?
  • Does the process provide opportunities for capacity building and relationship-building with unsuccessful applicants?
  • Does the process operate fairly, respectfully and transparently?

Agreement and payments

Negotiating the contract

  • Is the language, style, length and complexity of the contract, agreement or letter of understanding appropriate to the size and risk level of the grant, as well as the capacities and capabilities of the grantees?
  • Is its content consistent with all other aspects of the grants management system and documentation?
  • Are standard and non-variable requirements clear and is it obvious why each of these clauses has been included?
  • Is it clear what the purpose of signing the contracts is (e.g. is it simply to formalise the agreements or is it also to promote the program)?
  • Is it clear who will sign?

Making payments

  • Is it clear when and how payments will be made – frequency, milestones, and incentive arrangements?

Monitoring and variations

Monitoring and progress reporting

  • Is it clear what aspects of the grant will be monitored (e.g. outputs, outcomes, milestones, capacity and capability compliance)?
  • Is it clear how the grant will be monitored (reports, visits, workshops)?

Managing performance issues and varying grants

  • Is it clear what performance issues would cause concern and what would be done about such issues if they were to arise?
  • Is there a plan in place for monitoring of issues that arise and does it take into account the needs and capacities of emerging as well as established organisations?
  • Is there a clear process in place to handle variations to the contract, agreement or letter of understanding where these are required or requested?
  • Is it clear who will negotiate contract variations, how and with whom?
  • Is it clear how and to what extent the terms of contracts, agreements and letters of understanding may be varied?
  • Is it clear what the triggers for a variation would be?
  • Is it clear who would be responsible for approving such variations?

Final report and acquittals

Acquitting funds and closing

  • Is there a clear process in place for acquittal of funds?
  • Will acquittal take place at the end of the grant via audited reports or progressively according to milestones (and has consideration been given to different requirements for different grantees, depending on risks and capacities)?
  • Is there a plan in place to deal with underperformance or where evidence of fraudulent activity is uncovered or suspected?

Reviewing funded projects

  • Is there a process in place for reviewing individual projects funded through this grants program, as measured against the previously agreed outputs and outcomes?
  • Is it clear who will be responsible for carrying out the review, whether the grantmaker or the grant recipient?

Evaluation and dissemination

Evaluating the program

  • Is it clear how the efficiency and effectiveness of the program as a whole will be evaluated?
  • Is it clear who would carry out the evaluation?

Sharing the lessons learnt

  • Have opportunities and obligations for dissemination of lessons derived from this grants program been considered?
  • Is it clear what is planned regarding dissemination (including publication) of the program evaluation or other lessons learnt?
  • Have all relevant stakeholders been included and informed, where required or desirable?

You don't have to fill in the name of your program if you don't want to. It's just for your records (we will have access to results only in aggregate; we need this information to improve the Health Check over time, but won't use it for any other purpose)

If you wish health check result will be sent to your email as well, please fill in your email address below: