Commonwealth Grant Guidelines Revealed
Tuesday, 5th March 2013 at 8:56 am
The Federal Government has released new Commonwealth Grant Guidelines which the charity regulator says will save registered charities time when reporting to multiple government agencies.
Under to the revised guidelines released by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong, agency staff should not seek information from grant applicants and grant recipients when that information is already collected elsewhere in Commonwealth government. In particular, agency staff must not request information provided to the Australian Charities and Nonprofits Commission by registered charities.
ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM, has welcomed the revised guidelines.
“This is good news for registered charities. The revised guidelines mean that they won’t need to provide the same information over and over, regardless of which Commonwealth agency has issued the grant," Commissioner Pascoe said.
“This will reduce duplication and help to minimise time spent filling out paperwork.
“Another benefit for charities in the updated guidelines relates to determining whether acquittal or reporting requirements are required in relation to a grant. If the organisation provides an annual audited financial statement, then a financial acquittal should not be required, unless the granting activity is higher risk.
“The changes to the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines support the ‘report once, use often’ concept underpinning the ACNC’s Charity Passport.
“The Charity Passport will be a key tool to reduce reporting duplication for registered charities over time. It is not a paper document, but a way of electronically sharing and using information the ACNC collects from registered charities.”
The Federal Government said the revised Commonwealth Grant Guidelines, which will reduce red tape and improve collaboration between government and the Not for Profit sector.
"We support the important work of Not for Profit organisations and want to make it easier for them to continue to help the community," Minister Wong said.
Grant templates for low-risk grants have also been developed to ease administrative and legal costs for organisations.
“We have also developed a low-risk grant agreement template, designed to ease the associated administrative and legal costs organisations face when entering into grant arrangements with government.
“The template aims to reduce the burden of reporting and acquittals for grants recipients by establishing thresholds for low-risk grants. My department is currently working with selected Commonwealth agencies to pilot the template – something I'm very happy that UnitingCare have been assisting with – and we expect that a final version of the template for broader use will be released later this year.
The Guidelines also encourage the use of longer-term grant agreements.
"These Guidelines will improve our interaction with the Not for Profit sector and reduce unnecessary red tape and costs to organisations," Minister Wong said.
The revised Guidelines can be found on the Department of Finance and Deregulation website.