Council conducted a review of its grants programs during 2022-23 to understand if our current processes, guidelines, and tools meet the needs of our communities, and if they delivered efficiently and according to best-practice.

We completed the review in March 2023, and have moved into the implementation phase, where we will start to make the improvements to the programs.

The grants programs included in the review are:

  • Community Grants
  • Events Grants
  • Biodiversity Grants
  • Towards Zero Community Grants
  • Small-scale Artisan Agriculture Grants

You can find further information about these programs on Council's Grants webpage.

What did the review recommend?

The review made nineteen general recommendations to improve grant making in Council as a whole, and several recommendations specific to each grant program listed above.

The focus of the recommendations was to:

  • Streamline processes for grant applicants and recipients.
  • Ensure our grant programs meet the needs of our communities (e.g., the funding amounts available are appropriate for the types of projects, accessible, suitable timeframes to deliver projects, availability of grant rounds, applicant support available etc.)
  • Increase efficiency of grant management by Council Officers.
  • Increase transparency and governance of grant programs.
  • Promote Council grant making holistically as one program.
  • Share the successes and stories from our grant programs more consistently.
  • Increase positive outcomes for our community.

Some highlights from the recommendations include:

  • Creating a Community Funding Policy for Council.
  • Strengthening the evaluation process.
  • Updating guidelines for grant programs.
  • Increasing administrative resourcing to support all programs.
  • Developing educational resources, including FAQs and ‘How To’ guides/videos to support applicants.
  • Establishing a multi-year project grant category for on-ground works with increased funding (2 years, $8K maximum) for Biodiversity Grants.
  • Decreasing Community Grant rounds to three per year.
  • Creating a Small Projects Category ($1K funding) in the Community Grants Program, which will be available monthly.
  • Increasing the maximum funding for Community Grant applications from $2500 to $5000.
  • Renaming Landcare Funding and creating guidelines be more inclusive of other groups conducting Landcare or allied flora and fauna conservation activities.
  • Developing guidance for co-contributions in the Towards Zero Sustainability grant program.
  • Developing a Neighbourhood House MOU with annual funding.
  • Increasing the annual Community Grants Program budget available for community.
  • Making multiple improvements to grant program guidelines, application, annual reporting, and acquittal processes.

What is happening now?

We are commencing the implementation of the review findings across all grant programs. Information will be shared via this project page, Council’s website, and Facebook page, and directly to grant applicants/recipients about the changes and improvements in the latter part of 2023.

Engagement overview

The review involved the following engagement steps:

  • Consultation with Council Officers managing each program.
  • Data analysis relevant to each program (e.g., number of applicants, amount of funds disbursed, total number of groups receiving grant funding etc)
  • Customised surveys conducted with applicants.
  • Broad whole community survey
  • Benchmarking against grant programs in other LGAs

Feedback and information gathered through engagement have informed the review recommendations.

The implementation of the review findings will further improve Council’s grant programs, ensuring that grant making in Council is transparent, equitable, effective, and efficient.