27 September 2023

Auditor finds grants not for granted

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An investigation into the process for managing Government grants through the Streamlining Government Grants Administration Program (SGGA), adopted in 2015, has failed to deliver the expected benefits and financial savings estimated when the program was initiated.

In his performance audit, Operation of Grants Hubs, Auditor-General, Grant Hehir said that when the initiative was introduced, it was expected to lead to improved policy outcomes; improved experiences for grant applicants and recipients; reductions in red tape; efficiencies for Government entities administering grant programs; and an improved transparency of whole-of-Government grants administration and payment data.

“Total annual financial benefits were estimated to be around $400 million,” Mr Hehir said.

Following his audit however he said: “There is insufficient evidence to demonstrate the SGGA Program improved the effective and efficient delivery of grants administration.”

“Core deliverables were not achieved”.

Mr Hehir said the design and governance of the SGGA Program was not effective, its design was not supported by a sound evidence base and planning was not seen through to completion.

“Governance arrangements were established, but did not support achievement of program outcomes, benefits and deliverables,” he said.

“There was a benefits realisation framework, but it was not applied.”

Mr Hehir said the build and operation of the grants hubs were “partly effective”.

“While consistency and effectiveness in grants administration is somewhat improved, there are deficiencies in relation to usage of the hubs for the full grants lifecycle, collaboration between the hubs and client entities, and data management,” he said.

“There is limited evidence that the forecast benefits of the SGGA Program have been achieved.”

The Auditor-Generals’ full report can be accessed on line at this PS News link or in a 103-page printed report at this PS News link.

The audit team was Tracey Martin, Natalie Maras, Chay Kulatunge, Supriya Benjamin, Stephenson Li, Dung Chu, Alicia Vaughan, Runal Velso, Christine Chalmers and Peta Martyn

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