The development of State Grant Guidelines (that is, guidelines and rules for government funding of not-for-profit organisations) is a goal of both government and the South Australian community services sector, particularly in light of the increased outsourcing in recent years of services to the community that were previously provided directly by the government.
In the lead-up to the South Australian state election in 2014, SACOSS – in consultation with the Health and Community Services Sector– developed a 20-point Better Contracting and Red Tape Reduction Plan. One of the key initiatives proposed was the development of State Grant Guidelines similar to the Commonwealth guidelines, through which we hoped to get more uniformity across government and to mandate simpler grant processes.
The government also recognised the value of such guidelines and in its Modern Public Service policy document, it promised that:
"Grant guidelines will be developed with the not-for-profit sector to reduce red tape and take greater account of social value and responsibility."
A joint government/not -for profit (NFP) working group under the auspices of the Human Services Partnership Forum has been working on this project since September 2013.
A preliminary workshop was held with not-for-profit organisations to test what issues might be included in any guidelines, while SACOSS and others in government and our sector have navigated through the complexities of the State Procurement Act and the Public Finance and Audit Act to secure a recommended scope and mechanism for the proposed Guidelines. It is intended that the Guidelines will cover almost all funding of non-government organisations (including service contracts and one-off grants).
In 2016 the Department of Treasury and Finance took over leadership within government on this work and initiated a new process broadly in line with the policies of the State Procurement Board. An overarching principles document has been developed, and discussion has begun on a new standardised contract for all not-for-profit funding.
For further information about the Guidelines, email greg(at)sacoss.org.au