NFP Grant Applications ‘Flood’
22 July 2014 at 12:30 pm
Grant applications in the tens of thousands are expected to flood the Federal Department of Social Services as its new $800 million grants program applications close in the next 24 hours.
Peak welfare body ACOSS says it understands that a large number of Not for Profits have been impacted by the application process and the short time frame for submissions.
“We have concerns given the short time frame and that the application process encouraged partnerships and consortiums with other organisations,” an ACOSS spokesperson said.
“The ability to develop these collaborations have been quite challenging. With so many funding streams opening at the same time there has been significant pressure on organisations to complete their submissions.”
The new grants arrangements, announced in May, collapsed the original 18 grant programs into seven larger programs. According to Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, the new grants would include longer-term agreements that would provide greater certainty for the planning of services.
The Minister said as part of the new arrangements, the Government would roll out a streamlined system that added three newly broad-banded programs – Families and Communities, Housing and Homelessness, Disability, Mental Health and Carers – to complement those already existing in Ageing and Aged Care.
Guidelines and documents with details were released on June 19, giving Not for Profits just four weeks (including time to form consortiums) to complete their applications.
“When the first round of Grant applications closes on July 23, the Department of Social Services will be assessing applications for grants totalling up to $800 million, to be paid from 1 January 2015,” a Department of Social Services spokeswoman said.
“The assessment process is expected to be complete around late October."
ACOSS said one of the key issues will be the ability of the Department to process all the applications and make decisions on funding given that many organisations only have current funding until December.
“Quick decisions will be vital for the sector,” the ACOSS spokesperson said.
Department of Social Services spokeswoman said the applications will be assessed against the selection criteria outlined in the programme guidelines, which can be viewed at www.dss.gov.au/grants.
“All applicants will be progressively notified about the outcome of their application from late October.”