Briefing and reporting changes

Important changes to the Commonwealth Grants Framework will come into effect from 1 October 2024.

Overview

This fact sheet provides a summary of new briefing and reporting requirements relating to grant decisions made by ministers under the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Principles 2024 (CGRPs), including:

  • new requirements for officials when briefing ministers, and
  • new reporting and recording requirements relating to ministerial decisions.

You can read more about briefing ministers and ministerial reporting requirements at paragraph 4 in the CGRPs.

Obligations for officials when briefing ministers

When a minister is the approver of a grant, officials must provide the minister with written advice. At a minimum this advice must:

  • state that the spending proposal being considered is a ‘grant’
  • set out the minister’s obligations under the resource management framework, including the CGRPs
  • include information about the legal authority for the grant
  • outline the selection process and criteria used to assess applications
  • provide clear advice about the merits of the proposed grant/s relative to the grant opportunity guidelines and the key principle of achieving value with relevant money
  • clearly indicate which applications:
    • fully meet the selection criteria
    • partially meet the selection criteria, or
    • do not meet any of the selection criteria.

Officials must:

  • indicate which of the applications can be supported within the available funding, and
  • recommend that applications that do not meet any of the selection criteria be rejected.

In addition, officials:

  • should include any other specific recommendations that are appropriate, which may include recommendations based on other factors that the minister take into account as set out in the grant opportunity guidelines, and
  • may rank applications, if appropriate.

Obligations for ministers

The CGRPs maintain the requirement that ministers must not approve a grant before receiving written advice from officials on the merits of the proposed grant. There are also new obligations for ministers relating to recording and reporting.

Keep written records

The CGRPs maintain the requirement that ministers must record in writing the basis for:

  • the approval of a grant, with reference to the grant opportunity guidelines and the key principle of achieving value with relevant money, and
  • approving a grant that officials have recommended be rejected.

Under the CGRPs, ministers must also record in writing:

  • the basis for decisions not to approve a grant that officials have recommended be approved, and
  • any conflicts of interest relating to a decision to approve a grant.

Report certain decisions

The CGRPs maintain the requirement that ministers (including parliamentary secretaries, senators and assistant ministers)1 must report to the Minister for Finance on the following decisions:

  • a grant approved in their own electorate, except in limited circumstances (paragraph 4.11), and/or
  • a grant approved when officials assessed the proposal as ‘recommended be rejected’ for funding (paragraph 4.12).

These reports must be provided to the Minister for Finance as soon as practicable following the approval. The Minister for Finance must table copies of these reports in each House of Parliament as soon as practicable after the end of each quarter.

These decisions must also be recorded on GrantConnect as soon as practicable. For more information see the fact sheet on GrantConnect reporting requirements.

The table below provides an overview of recording and reporting requirements for different ministerial decisions.

Officials have advised:Ministerial decision:Does the basis for the decision need to be recorded?Does the decision need to be reported to the Minister for Finance and recorded on GrantConnect?
Approve grantApprove grant
black tick

Only if in own electorate

Approve grantReject grant
black tick
black cross
Reject grantApprove grant
black tick
black tick

 (Also if in own electorate)

Reject grantReject grant
black cross
black cross
No recommendationApprove grant
black tick

Only if in own electorate

No recommendationReject grant
black cross
black cross

For more information visit www.finance.gov.au/government/commonwealth-grants or email grants@finance.gov.au.

1 The Presiding officers are not required to report to the Minister for Finance.


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