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New Grant Reporting Approach Trialled in the UK

10 December 2018 at 4:25 pm
Luke Michael
A group of funders and funded organisations in the UK are trialling a new approach to grant reporting to fix what grantmakers say is a “broken system”.                               

Luke Michael | 10 December 2018 at 4:25 pm


New Grant Reporting Approach Trialled in the UK
10 December 2018 at 4:25 pm

A group of funders and funded organisations in the UK are trialling a new approach to grant reporting to fix what grantmakers say is a “broken system”.                                    

A joint report from the Institute for Voluntary Action Research and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation (EMF), released last week, noted that grant reporting arrangements in the UK could be burdensome rather than useful.

Over the course of two workshops in April and September this year, 12 organisations developed a set of principles designed to improve guidelines around grant reporting – the process used by charities to report their progress to funders.

The six principles agreed upon were:

  1. Funders explain why they have awarded a grant;
  2. Funders and funded organisations are clear about what grant reporting will look like;
  3. Funders are clear about the type of relationship they would like to have with the organisations they fund;
  4. Funders only ask for information they need and use, and question whether they need bespoke reporting;
  5. Funders give feedback on any grant reporting they receive, and share their thoughts on the progress of the work; and
  6. Funders describe what they do with the information they obtain from funded organisations.

A number of funders ­– including Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation – will be testing the effectiveness of the principles over coming months.  

The Big Lottery Fund said in the report it had made a commitment to continually improving its guidance and monitoring expectations together with the organisations it funded.

“These principles give us a great opportunity to look at our next steps with regards to reporting so that it can be aligned and useful to all – communities, the organisations we fund and the funder,” Big Lottery Fund said.

EMF CEO Caroline Mason said on the foundation’s website that grant reporting currently was “a symptom of a broken system”.          

She said the new principles for reporting outlined the actions funders needed to take to fix a system weighted completely in their favour.

“It is not easy to change our own culture, let alone the whole system itself… but I hope we can all agree on the endgame: that reporting which strengthens the organisations we fund will ultimately make us more effective,” Mason said.  

More information about the principles and the organisations involved can be found here.  

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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