Posted: 13 Sep. 2021 5 min. read

How can we deliver grant programs efficiently?

Grants play a central role in our Government’s ability to provide targeted support to the economy, encourage research & innovation, create social impact, and provide emergency relief. To illustrate the scale of the Australian grant landscape, in FY21 the Federal Government paid out approximately $23.5 billion across 400 grant schemes, with many billions more distributed under State and Local Government initiatives.

A number of these grant programs have been subject to reviews by the Australian National Audit Office. These reviews have identified a number of pressing issues facing grant administrators today which we have analysed below:

1. Grant assessment criteria must be aligned to the program objectives

Assessment criteria and methodology is how grant administrators ensure each applicant’s subjective and objective details are fairly and consistently considered. Theoretical program objectives are brought to life through the practical application of assessment criteria and this linkage is a frequent focus area of grant program reviews.

Further, restrictive or onerous assessment criteria may have the unintended consequence of limiting the grant distribution to a fraction of the allocated grant pool. Undistributed grant funding has been a recurring theme across Federal and State programs over the past few years.

2. Consistent application of assessment criteria is critical in maintaining the public’s trust

Consistent application of assessment criteria is a critically important component of a transparent and equitable program. Inconsistencies can result in type I (false exclusion) and type II (false inclusion) errors. The Australian National Audit Office has repeatedly identified departure from program guidelines as a theme in its audits of grant programs.

3. Technology, infrastructure and reporting mechanisms for grant administration and governance

Administering grant programs requires infrastructure appropriately scaled to the scope and needs of the program and applicants. Significant improvements have been made in this area, but opportunities remain in technology-enabled assessment workflow, reporting and applicant communication portals.

4. Resourcing constraints + extraordinary time pressure = a perfect storm

The ANAO has indicated that grant administrators today face a wicked combination of tight timeframes, distressed applicants and limited resources. This can impact consistency, timeliness, or cost, to the detriment of the intended economic, innovation or social impact of the program. 

The role of Deloitte Managed Solution in grant program execution

At Deloitte, we have found that successful grant programs are underpinned by a similar foundation of methodology, systems, process, and operational excellence, we also know that a “one size fits all” approach is rarely appropriate. As a result, we have come up with the following scalable approach to allow organisations to design, build and run effective grants programs:

Our recent work: Case Study

The Australian Government funded a grant program to support an industry significantly disrupted by COVID-19. The total value of the grant pool was in excess of $250 million.

Deloitte designed, built and implemented a process to assess more than 1,500 ‘high value’ applications using an online applicant portal, assessment methodology and toolkit, applicant information request and quality management framework. 

Value delivered: 

  • A custom instance of the Deloitte platform was built within two weeks to act as an applicant portal, communication tool and workflow system
  • Designed the assessment framework, methodology and tools used by the verification team
  • Provided technical accounting and tax advice to overcome complex issues related to assessing the applicants’ financial position
  • Mobilised, onboarded and trained a team of assessors in two weeks
  • Verified all grant applications over a period of 8 weeks including applicant data upload, applicant communication, follow up and outcome reporting.

Get in touch

Deloitte Managed Solutions works with public sector clients to design, build and run their most complex citizen operations. We bring technical expertise, technology and operational excellence to high-volume case-based eligibility assessment, remediation, redress, compensation, grants and application processing.

More about the authors

Sourabh Dhariwal

Sourabh Dhariwal

Director, Deloitte Managed Solutions

Sourabh is a Director in Deloitte Managed Solutions where he designs and leads large-scale managed services and operations program for the clients in public sector and financial services sector. Sourabh specialise in designing target/future operating model, leading managed service programs, customer driven digital transformation, business process improvement and helping clients in adopting emerging technology such as RPA, ML and AI. At the core of the services, Sourabh bring together a proven methodology, IT infrastructure, vendor management and resource model to ensure that clients receive a fully managed solution.

Saumya Goenka

Saumya Goenka

Manager, Deloitte Managed Solutions

Saumya is a Manager in Deloitte Managed Solutions specialising in the design, build and delivery of large-scale programs for clients facing complex operational challenges. He brings together a combined experience of more than 9 years across multiple industry sectors to deliver operational excellence and risk intelligent strategies by deploying smart technology implementation and leading large teams of talented individuals. Saumya also has significant experience in leading internal audits for crucial government clients with a deep understanding of their end to end processes and provided range of ‘high value’ solutions for his clients across multiple domains that left a legacy.