Publishing a grant

This information sets out the requirements for the publication of grants on GrantConnect and outlines arrangements in relation to additional publication of grants information in other ways. It only applies to grants defined under paragraph 2.3 of the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines 2017 (CGRGs).

Appropriate disclosure and reporting in grants administration are essential to ensure transparency and accountability. Reliable and timely information on grants opportunities and grants awarded helps to provide both the public and Parliament with confidence in the quality and integrity of grants administration.

GrantConnect is the Australian Government’s whole-of-government grants information system, which centralises the publication and reporting of Commonwealth grants in accordance with the CGRGs. It is available at www.grants.gov.au

Non-corporate Commonwealth entities must publish on GrantConnect to meet the grant publishing requirements under the CGRGs.

FAQs

When and where do I publish grant opportunity guidelines?

GrantConnect is the central point of discovery for information about all Australian Government grants.  The CGRGs requires entities to publish all grant opportunity guidelines on GrantConnect (paragraph 5.2).  In addition, entities may choose to develop forecast opportunities to alert potential applicants of upcoming grant opportunities.  When entities develop and publish forecast opportunities, these must be published on GrantConnect.  Forecast opportunities allow officials to alert the public to upcoming grant opportunities before opening for applications.

Consuming entities under the SGGA program should discuss how their Hub service arrangement will manage the requirement to publish grant opportunities on GrantConnect.

What information do I publish on my entity’s website?

GrantConnect is the central point of discovery for information about all Australian Government grants.  The CGRGs require entities to publish grant guidelines and grants awarded on GrantConnect. Entities should publish a link to GrantConnect on their websites, rather than publishing grant opportunity guidelines or grants awarded on their websites. RMG 421 provides further guidance on the use of GrantConnect for officials.

How do I report grants awarded information?

From 31 December 2017, all entities are required to report grants awarded information, including variations to grant agreements, on GrantConnect.

Do I need to report variations to grant agreements? 

Yes. Officials should report any major variations to grant agreements on GrantConnect, especially if the variation involves changes to the grant amount or a significant revision in time.  Variations providing for indexation would generally not need to be reported. RMG 421 provides guidance on the requirements of GrantConnect.

Do I need to report variations to grant agreements within 21 calendar days?

No. It is better practice for officials to amend grants awarded reporting to reflect the variation as soon as is practicable.

My department is co-funding a grant with another non-corporate Commonwealth entity.  Should I publish all details of the grant, or only the amount that we fund?

The entity that enters into the grant agreement should report the whole grant on GrantConnect. In the situation where two or more entities enter into the grant agreement with a grant recipient, then the lead entity should report the grant.

In cases where there is both Australian Government and private sector funding for a specific grant project, entities are required to report only on the Australian Government contribution.

All entities must publish grants awarded information on GrantConnect.

How do I gain access to grant connect?

Should you have any questions regarding GrantConnect please contact: 

GrantConnect Help Desk

www.grants.gov.au

E: GrantConnect@finance.gov.au

What must I publish on GrantConnect?

  • all Forecast Opportunities where these have been developed.
  • all grant opportunities and grant opportunity guidelines (see paragraph 5.2 CGRGs) (except where there is a specific policy reason not to publicise the grant opportunity guidelines; or grants are provided on a one-off or ad hoc basis)
  • any alterations and addenda to Grant Opportunities and Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

Where accountable authorities and officials have used other mechanisms to notify potential applicants about grant opportunities, such as printed media, the content of the notification must be the same, or be a subset of the information published on GrantConnect. Where there are inconsistencies, GrantConnect is the authoritative source.

What must I report on GrantConnect?

The CGRGs contain a number of reporting requirements for grants (see section 5 of the CGRGs).

An entity must report, on GrantConnect, information on individual grants no later than 21 calendar days after the grant agreement for the grant takes effect (date of effect).

The approval date for reporting purposes is taken to be the date that the decision-maker (as listed in the Grant Opportunities Guidelines) makes a decision to award a grant. For example, the relevant Minister may receive advice pursuant to paragraph 4.6 of the CGRGs, and then advise the department of his decision of which grantees to approve and whatfunding  amount.

What is the date of effect?

Where there is a grant agreement, the start date for reporting purposes is generally taken to be the date the grant agreement is executed.  However, if the grant agreement contains a specified date which occurs post-execution, in those instances, the start date for reporting purposes is taken to be the specified post-execution date.

What if there is no grant agreement?

Where there is no grant agreement, officials may decide and document why they have chosen a specific date of effect or start date. The date of effect can be the date of the first payment, the announcement of successful grantees or there may be a planned delayed start for grant projects to coincide with the commencement of the financial year.  Whichever date of effect is decided and documented, this should be deemed as the start date for reporting purposes.

Officials should adopt a consistent approach for grants awarded in the same grant opportunity.

Where the nature of the grant means that a grant agreement is not required, then the 21 calendar days would apply from the relevant date of effect, for example, the date of the first invoice or payment.

Should I report variations?

Yes, reporting on individual grants awarded includes reporting grant variations, where those variations involve additional payments of relevant money or significant extensions. Reportable variations include:

  • material increases to the dollar value of a grant
  • extension of the grant activity into another financial year, or
  • change in organisation details.

Are there exemptions to reporting on GrantConnect?

Paragraphs 5.6 and 5.7 of the CGRGs outline exemptions to reporting grants information on GrantConnect.

Where officials assess that publishing grant information, in accordance with the CGRGs could adversely affect the achievement of government policy outcomes, the responsible Minister can seek an exemption from the Finance Minister. The responsible Minister must write to the Finance Minister detailing the rationale for the exemption.  Officials should consult the Grants Policy Team (grants@finance.gov.au) prior to commencing this process.

Confidentiality provisions when publishing grants awarded on GrantConnect

There are generally two broad types of confidentiality related clauses used in grant agreements:

  • general clauses referencing confidentiality requirements in legislation, such as under the Privacy Act 1988, or
  • special confidentiality provisions, which protect the confidentiality of: all or part of the grant agreement; or information obtained or generated in relation to the grant project.

The CGRGs provide that officials must identify whether a grant agreement contains confidentiality provisions. When entities publish information on individual grants awarded, they must include information identifying whether a grant agreement contains any confidentiality provisions and if so, provide the reasons why they are included. References to requirements in other legislation do not need to be reported. There is no threshold for reporting on confidentiality provisions contained in grant agreements.

For additional information on reporting on confidentiality provisions, officials can draw from information provided for procurement contracts at https://www.finance.gov.au/government/procurement.


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