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Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) Special Grant Round Guidelines

International Relations Grants Program - Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) Special Grant Round Guidelines

Opening date

1800 AEDT 19 November 2020

Closing date and time

1800 AEDT 23 December 2020

Commonwealth policy entity

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Enquiries

If you have any questions, contact the COALAR Secretariat via coalar@dfat.gov.au or +61 (02) 6261 3304.

Questions should be sent no later than 1600 AEST 23 December 2020

Date guidelines released

19 November 2020

Type of grant opportunity

Open competitive

1. The International Relations Grants Program: Special Grant Round processes

The International Relations Grants Program is designed to achieve Australian Government objectives

This grant opportunity is part of the above grant program, which contributes to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Outcome 1[1]. The Council of Australia Latin America Relations works with stakeholders to plan and design the grant program according to the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs).

The grant opportunity opens

We publish the grant guidelines on GrantConnect

You complete and submit a grant application

You complete the application form and address all of the eligibility and assessment criteria to be considered for a grant.

We assess all grant applications

We assess the applications against eligibility criteria [and notify you if you are not eligible, if applicable]. We assess your eligible application against the assessment criteria including an overall consideration of value with money [and compare it to other applications, if applicable].

We make grant recommendations

We provide advice to the decision maker on the merits of each application.

Grant decisions are made

The decision maker decides which applications are successful.

We notify you of the outcome

We advise you of the outcome of your application. We may not notify unsuccessful applicants until grant agreements have been executed with successful applicants.

We enter into a grant agreement

We will enter into a grant agreement with you if successful. The type of grant agreement is based on the nature of the grant and will be proportional to the risks involved.

Delivery of grant

You undertake the grant activity as set out in your grant agreement. We [or other entity if applicable] manage the grant by working with you, monitoring your progress and making payments.

Evaluation of the [program name/grant opportunity]

We evaluate your specific grant activity and the [program name/grant opportunity] as a whole. We base this on information you provide to us and that we collect from various sources.

1.1 Introduction

These guidelines contain information for the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) Special Grant Round. This grant round has been developed in response to the changed priorities and operating constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You must read these guidelines and the Additional Guidance note before filling out an application.

These documents set out:

  • the purpose of the grant opportunity
  • the eligibility and assessment criteria
  • how grant applications are considered and selected
  • how grantees are notified and receive grant payments
  • how applications will be monitored and evaluated
  • responsibilities and expectations in relation to the opportunity.

2. About the grant program

The International Relations Grants Program (the program) is an ongoing program, subject to annual budget appropriation.

The program promotes people-to-people links and a contemporary and positive image of Australia to support the Australian Government’s international policy goals.

The objectives of the program include:

  • strengthening bilateral relationships in areas of mutual interest with particular countries and regions;
  • build understanding, trust and influence across international networks, collaboration and connections between institutions and communities;
  • enhancing Australian international reputation and reach through the promotion of our economic, creative and cultural, sporting, innovation and science, and education assets; and
  • increased understanding of Australians of the cultures and opportunities in each of these countries.

We administer the program according to the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs)[2].

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reserves the right to cease selection processes for grant opportunities under the program.

2.1 Special Grant Round outcomes

The outcomes sought through the Special Grant Round are the strengthening of relationships between Australia and Latin America and contributing to COVID-19 economic recovery through projects that promote digital connectivity, align with the Council’s overall objective of fostering Latin America-Australia connections, centre on the focus theme of COVID-19 Economic Recovery, meet COVID-19 requirements and can be conducted between 1 April and 30 September 2021.

Restrictions on travel and social distancing will limit opportunities for face-to-face engagement and international visits. In this context, the round will target online activities or forms of engagement that help bring people together and build cross-cultural linkages through virtual technology, digital platforms or social media.

All activities proposed must be compliant with local restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Countries in scope include Argentina, Australia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, and Uruguay.

3. Grant amount and grant period

3.1 Grants available

The Australian Government has announced a total of AUD$400,000 is available in 2020-21 for this grant opportunity, subject to appropriation.

The grant opportunity will run from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.

  • The minimum grant amount is $10,000 (GST exclusive).
  • The maximum grant amount is $50,000 (GST exclusive).
  • Co-contributions from you and/or other parties will make your application more competitive but there is not an explicit requirement to provide a co-contribution.

3.2 Grant period

Projects cannot commence before 1 April 2021 or before confirmation of DFAT’s approval of the grant and execution of relevant grant documentation and need to have commenced no later than 30 June 2021. Projects should conclude by 30 September 2021.

We may approve a project extension of up to six (6) months where a compelling business case is provided in writing to the Secretariat (coalar@dfat.gov.au) before 1 August 2021.

4. Eligibility criteria

We cannot consider your application if you do not satisfy all the eligibility criteria.

4.1 Who is eligible to apply for a grant?

To be eligible you must be one of the following entity types:

  • an Australian entity with either an Australian Business Number (ABN)or Australian Company Number (ACN) or indigenous Corporation Number (ICN)
  • an Australian consortium with a lead organisation[3]
  • an Australian registered charity or not-for-profit organisation
  • an Australian local government body
  • an Australian State/Territory government body
  • a corporate Commonwealth entity
  • an Australian statutory authority
  • an Australian or permanent resident of Australia
  • a citizen or organisation from one of the following countries in Latin America; Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú and Uruguay.
  • a well-established organisation in a Latin American country with a business purpose to advocate for Australian business, education and/or cultural interests
  • be willing to provide or develop child protection guidelines for your project if it involves people under the age of 18 years.

Applications from consortia are acceptable, provided you have a lead applicant who can manage the project and is eligible as per the list above.

Individuals who intend the grant to be administered by a university should apply on behalf of the university, i.e. your university is the applicant.

Grant Eligibility Checklist:

Please review this checklist before completing the online application form.

To be eligible you must:

 

Yes

No

N/A

1) Be one of the following entity types:

     

· an Australian entity with an Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (ACN), or Indigenous Corporation Number (ICN)

     

· an Australian consortium with a lead organisation

     

· an Australian registered charity or not-for-profit organisation

     

· an Australian local government body

     

· an Australian State/Territory government body

     

· a corporate Commonwealth entity

     

· an Australian statutory authority

     

· be an Australian or permanent resident of Australia

     

· a citizen or organisation from one of the Latin American countries

     

· a well-established organisation in a Latin American country with a business purpose to advocate for Australian business, education and/or cultural interests

     

For applications from consortia, you must:

· have a lead applicant who is the main driver of the project and is eligible as per the list above

     

Individuals who intend the grant to be administered by a university:

· your university should be the applicant

     

2) Be willing to provide a develop child protection guidelines for your project if it involves people under the age of 18 years.

     

3) Have completed all previous IRGP grant acquittals.

     

4) Propose a project that is relevant to the Special Grant Round objective

     

5) Propose a project where activity commences no earlier than 1 April 2021 and where you have received confirmation of DFAT’s approval of the grant and executed relevant grant documentation. The proposed project will need to commence no later than 30 June 2021 and completed before 30 September 2021 (plus one month for project acquittal).

     

6) Propose a project between $10,000 to $50,000 (GST exclusive).

     

7) Ensure the project is compliant with all local COVID-19 restrictions, including travel, at the time of submission.

     

8) Submit a complete application with supporting documentation.

     

Incomplete applications and late applications are not accepted.

     

4.2 Who is not eligible to apply for a grant?

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • Not an Australian, a permanent resident of Australia or an Australian organisation and you are not a citizen of, or organisation from, Latin America.
  • A previous applicant who has failed to provide a full and proper acquittal of an earlier IRGP grant.
    • With the agreement of the Secretariat, you may be eligible if you are able to provide an interim report ensuring that existing grant funding will be expended prior to the commencement of the new grant requested.

5. What the grant money can be used for

5.1 Eligible grant activities

To be eligible, you can only spend grant funds on eligible grant activities as defined in the grant details in your grant agreement.

You must use the grant for the following activities:

  • communication, including digital technology, and translation;
  • advertising and promotion, graphic design, photography and printed material,
  • production costs, including freight and artists’ wages (for art-cultural projects),
  • one principal speaker and the subject of the project is of direct relevance to the grant opportunity.
  • venue hire and catering;
  • domestic travel, where it complies with local COVID-19 restrictions, including economy flights, modest accommodation costs, meals and travel allowances, other transport
    • - for your application to be competitive, travel and accommodation expenses associated with your grant activities should not exceed 50% of the total grant funds.
    • - accommodation costs must not include the cost of domestic quarantine requirements.

For activities delivered in Australia, applicants are encouraged to consider the use of an Indigenous supplier, if they intend to subcontract any of the services above. A directory of registered Indigenous businesses is available at www.supplynation.org.au.

5.2 What the grant money cannot be used for

You cannot use the grant for the following activities:

  • capital expenditure, including purchase of real estate and vehicles
  • purchase of equipment (for example, musical instruments, computers, videos, photographic or printing equipment)
  • the covering of retrospective costs or recurrent funding of activities
  • activities which are already commercially viable in their own right
  • activities which will provide commercial advantage to the applicant (e.g. promotion of the applicant’s own business)
  • costs incurred in the preparation of a grant application or related documentation
  • subsidy of general ongoing administration of an organisation such as electricity, phone, rent, salaries (including for research assistants or administrative staff), honorariums or administrative charges levied by the applicant's organisation,
  • activities for which other Commonwealth, State, Territory or Local Government bodies have primary responsibility (e.g. academic research, assistance to business, development assistance projects),
  • activities undertaken by primary or high schools, including study tours, where travel by a significant number of students is the principal element of the proposal
  • scholarships to individual students
  • completed projects
  • domestic travel or accommodation activities that do not comply with local COVID-19 restrictions, and
  • domestic travel and accommodation for attendance at conferences or meetings, participation in fieldwork or sporting or other events, even where the travel will comply with local COVID-19 restrictions.

6. The assessment criteria

Your application must address all of the following assessment criteria in the application. All criterion have equal weighting. The amount of detail and supporting evidence you provide in your application should be relative to the size, complexity and grant amount requested.

We will only award funding to applications that score highly against all assessment criteria.

Criterion 1

The proposal will develop or enhance online activities or forms of engagement that help bring people together and build cross-cultural linkages through virtual technology, digital platforms or social media.

Criterion 2

The proposal will:

  • strengthen relationships between relevant stakeholders in Australia and Latin America to identify strategic collaboration and engagement opportunities; and/or
  • promote and support economic diplomacy projects and activities that facilitate and grow new business opportunities; and/or
  • support strategic dialogue between Australia and Latin America’s leaders and influencers; and/or
  • promote Australia and Latin America as dynamic and diverse societies.

Criterion 3

The proposal articulates what a successful outcome will deliver and includes measurable indicators to evaluate success.

Criterion 4

The proposal demonstrates an understanding of the goals and objectives of COALAR, value for money, and ability to plan, manage, implement and evaluate the project within agreed timeframes.

Criterion 5

The proposal will help increase COALAR’s online and social media presence to support connections between Australia and Latin America by producing innovative, collaborative, high quality and relevant communication products.

Criterion 6

The proposal will promote relations between Australia and Latin America, including in Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú and Uruguay.

Your application will be assessed against each criterion. While an application may meet the assessment criteria, a grant is not guaranteed.

The COALAR Board’s recommendations will be based on the information provided in the application. To be competitive, your application should be written in plain English, and demonstrate how it meets eligibility and assessment criteria.

The amount of detail and supporting evidence you provide should be commensurate with the project complexity and amount of funding requested.

The project must be completed within the 2020-21 financial year (before 30 June 2021).

7. How to apply

Before applying, you must read and understand:

  • these guidelines;
  • COALAR Strategic Plan 2020-2023;
  • Special Grant Round Additional Guidance;
  • the application form;
  • the draft grant agreement; and
  • the sample final report before you submit an application.

These documents may be found at GrantConnect. The COALAR Strategic Plan 2020-2023 and the Special Grant Round Additional Guidance can be found on the COALAR website. Any alterations and addenda[4] will be published on GrantConnect and by registering on this website, you will be automatically notified on any changes. GrantConnect is the authoritative source for grants information.

To apply you must:

  • complete the online grant application form with all the information requested
  • address all eligibility criteria and assessment criteria
  • provide two short signed independent references.

You are responsible for ensuring your application is complete and accurate. Giving false or misleading information will exclude your application from further consideration.

Your application must address all the eligibility and assessment criteria and include two short signed independent references (see Section 9.5).

Prior to submitting, we strongly recommend you allow time to check all sections of the application are complete and any additional information requested has been uploaded. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Please keep a copy of your application and any supporting papers.

COALAR will acknowledge receipt of your grant application within one working day through an automated email from the online grants management system, SmartyGrants.

7.1 Attachments to the application

We require the following documents with your application:

  • two short (200 words or less) independent references signed by the each referee;
  • letter of support from nominated partners (if relevant);
  • organisation capability statement or individual’s curriculum vitae (optional); and
  • if you apply on behalf of a university, a letter of support from your Research Office.

In seeking support and referees for your project, note that COALAR Board Members and Australian Government officials in Canberra and Embassies in the Latin America region may be involved in the assessment process for the Special Grant Round. To comply with conflict of interest requirements (see Section 15.2), Members or officials with a business, personal or support connection to a proposal will be excluded from the assessment process.

Your supporting documentation should be attached to the application form. There will be instructions in the application form to help you. Only attach the documents you have been asked to include.

For applications from universities to be competitive, we recommend including a letter of support from the relevant Research Office highlighting:

  • the alignment of the proposed project with the Special Grant Round priorities (Section 2.1),
  • the relevance of the project to the University’s strategic goals in the relevant country, and
  • an explanation of why COALAR is the most appropriate funding source, demonstrating the project is not more appropriately funded by the Australia Research Council or alternative Commonwealth funding body.

7.2 Joint (consortia) applications

Some organisations may apply as a consortium to deliver grant activities. A consortium is two or more organisations who are working together to combine their capabilities when developing and delivering a grant activity.

If you are submitting a grant application on behalf of a consortium, a member organisation or a newly created organisation must be appointed as the ‘lead organisation’. Only the lead organisation will enter into a grant agreement with the Commonwealth and will be responsible for the grant. The lead organisation must complete the application form and identify all other members of the proposed consortium in the application.

The application must include a letter of support from each organisation involved in the grant. Each letter of support should include:

  • an overview of how the consortium will work together to complete the grant activity
  • an outline of the relevant experience and/or expertise of the consortium members
  • the roles/responsibilities of consortium members and the resources they will contribute (if any)
  • details of a nominated management level contact officer
  • details of the lead organisation.

7.3 Timing of grant opportunity processes

You must submit an application between the published opening and closing dates. We cannot accept late applications.

If you are successful, we expect you will be able to commence your project no earlier than 1 April 2021. It will need to have commenced no later than 30 June 2021.

Table 1: Expected timing for this grant opportunity

Activity

Timeframe

Application Period

4 weeks

Assessment of applications

3 weeks

Approval of outcomes of selection process

3 weeks

Negotiations and award of grant agreements

3 weeks

Notification to unsuccessful applicants

1 week

Activity commences

Specified in application but no earlier than 1 April 2021

Date by which activity must have commenced

Project activity must be underway no later than 30 June 2021.

End date of grant activity or agreement

Specified in application but no later than 30 September 2021

7.4 Questions during the application process

If you have any questions during the application period, please contact the COALAR Secretariat at coalar@dfat.gov.au

To ensure you meet the closing time, we recommend you seek advice or direct questions to the Secretariat no later than 1600 AEST 23 December 2020.

8. The grant selection process

8.1 Assessment of grant applications

The COALAR Secretariat, within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and relevant public diplomacy staff of Australian Embassies in Latin America, will first review your application against the assessment criteria (see Section 6) and against other applications. We consider your application on its merits based on:

  • how well it represents value with relevant money;
  • how well the application meets the criteria;
  • how the application compares to other applications; and
  • how well and the extent to which the application aligns with priorities.

Following this review, the COALAR Secretariat then provides information and advice to the Board to assist its assessment of grant applications, including on eligibility and alignment with priorities.

8.2 Who will assess applications?

The COALAR Board[5] will assess each application on its merits in addressing the assessment criteria (refer to Section 6). Board Members are listed on the COALAR website (www.coalar@dfat.gov.au). Board members who are not a Commonwealth official will be reminded of the expectation that they are required to perform their duties in accordance with the CGRGs. They will receive a copy of the CRGS prior to assessing applications.

To assist its process, the Board may seek comments or additional information from officials in Australian Embassies in the region and other Commonwealth agencies. The Board may also consider information in the public domain about you or your application that is available through the normal course of business.

As with previous years, the Board will rank projects recommended for funding. The highest ranked projects will be offered funding and the remainder will be placed on a waiting list should additional funds become available.

If the assessment process identifies unintentional errors in your application, you may be contacted to correct or explain the information.

8.3 Who will approve grants?

The COALAR Board will make its recommendations for funding to the financial delegate, who then approves release of funding.

For COALAR, the delegate is First Assistant Secretary, Europe and Latin America Division, or his/her delegate within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The delegate’s decision is final in all matters, including:

  • the approval of the grant
  • the grant funding amount to be awarded.

The delegate will not approve funding if the application does not represent value for money. COALAR reserves the right to offer less funding than that sought by the applicant. There is no appeal mechanism for decisions to approve or not approve a grant.

9. Notification of application outcomes

You will be advised of the outcomes of your application in writing, following a decision by the delegate. If you are successful, you will also be advised about any specific conditions attached to the grant.

9.1 Feedback on your application

COALAR will not be providing individual feedback in relation to this grant process.

10. Successful grant applications

10.1 The grant agreement

If you are successful, you must enter into a legally binding grant agreement with the Commonwealth represented by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. A copy of the standard grant agreement template can be viewed at www.coalar@dfat.gov.au. Standard terms and conditions for the grant agreement will apply and cannot be changed. Any additional conditions attached to the grant will be identified in the grant offer.

You will be required to:

  • complete a brief communications outline within two weeks of accepting the grant offer
  • provide a final report, including financial acquittal, using the online template within 60 days of project completion
  • where conference or meeting participation of a principal speaker is funded, a copy of the paper presented by the participant (in addition to the final report).

If there are unreasonable delays in finalising a grant agreement, the grant offer may be withdrawn and the grant may be awarded to a different applicant.

Where a grantee fails to meet the obligations of the grant agreement, DFAT may withhold or suspend the funding to the grantee; and/or require the grantee to repay all or part of the grant. No compensation is payable by DFAT for termination in these circumstances.

You should not make financial commitments until a grant agreement has been executed by the Commonwealth. Specific legislation, policies and industry standards

10.2 How we pay the grant

COALAR will make a payment on execution of the grant agreement and on receipt of a valid invoice. Payments will be made as set out in the grant agreement. Where appropriate, payments will be GST inclusive.

All grants are awarded in Australian dollars. However, if you are based in Latin America, the payment can be made in your currency up to the equivalent value in Australian dollars. The payment will be made to your nominated intermediary bank account at the spot exchange rate on the day the invoice is processed. You should acknowledge this requirement and allow for the exchange fees in your project budget. You are responsible for any financial differences that may occur from the time of the application submission to when the project takes place, due to fluctuations in the exchange rate.

If you receive a grant, you should consider speaking to a tax advisor about the effect of receiving a grant before you enter into a grant agreement. You can also visit the Australian Taxation Office website at www.ato.gov.au for more information.

10.3 Grants Payments and GST

Payments will be made as set out in the grant agreement. Where appropriate, payments will be GST Inclusive.

Grants are assessable income for taxation purposes, unless exempted by a taxation law. We recommend you seek independent professional advice on your taxation obligations or seek assistance from the Australian Taxation Office.[6] We do not provide advice on your particular taxation circumstances.

11. Announcement of grants

If successful, your grant will be listed on the GrantConnect website (www.grants.gov) website within 21 calendar days after the date of effect as required by Section 5.3 of the CGRGs. It will also be listed on the DFAT COALAR web page (www.coalar@dfat.gov.au).

12. How we monitor your grant activity

12.1 Keeping us informed

You should let us know if anything is likely to affect your grant activity or organisation by contacting the COALAR secretariat at coalar@dfat.gov.au.

We need to know of any key changes to your organisation or its business activities, particularly if they affect your ability to complete your grant, carry on business and pay debts due.

You must also inform us of any changes to your:

  • name
  • addresses
  • nominated contact details
  • bank account details.

12.2 Reporting

You must submit reports in line with the timeframes in the grant agreement and no later than two months following the conclusion of your project. Sample templates for these reports are available on the website at www.coalar@dfat.gov.au. We will expect you to report on:

  • progress against your communications plan actively deepening international relationships and promoting your project and the council;
  • progress against agreed project milestones;
  • contributions of participants directly related to the project;
  • eligible expenditure of grant funds; and
  • results against key performance indicators and the project specific outputs detailed in your application.

You will also be responsible for:

  • meeting the terms and conditions of the grant agreement and managing and promoting the activity efficiently and effectively;
  • complying with record keeping, reporting and acquittal requirements as set out in the grant agreement;
  • all administrative arrangement associated with your project including visa and travel arrangements, visa charges, airport taxes, ground transport, travel and health insurance for project participant’s medical and hospital insurance cover both overseas and in Australia for visitors not covered by Medicare (including evacuation and death cover), and necessary insurance for equipment and accommodation costs and arrangements;
  • other insurances, including workers’ compensation, as required by law, and professional indemnity, public health and liability insurance, as required by the project; and
  • complying with all applicable domestic and international laws.

12.3 Grant agreement variations

COALAR recognises that unexpected events may affect the progress of a project. In these circumstances, you may request a project variation, including:

  • changing project milestones consistent with the original intent of the project
  • extending the timeframe for completing the project for a reasonable period of time
  • changing the allocations across budget items.

Grant agreement variation does not allow for an increase of the agreed amount of grant funds.

If you want to propose changes to the grant agreement, you must submit a request in writing to the COALAR Secretariat before the grant agreement end date. COALAR will not consider changes after the grant agreement end date.

Project extensions of up to 12 months may be considered where a compelling business case is provided in writing to the Secretariat before 15 May 2021 (see Section 9.3). We encourage grant recipients to contact the Secretariat as early as possible if project commencement is delayed.

You should not assume that a variation request will be successful. COALAR will consider your request based on factors such as:

  • how it affects the project outcome
  • consistency with the program policy objective and any relevant policies of the department
  • changes to the timing of grant payments
  • availability of program funds.

12.4 Record keeping

We may inspect the records you are required to keep under the grant agreement.

12.5 Evaluation

COALAR will evaluate the Special Grant Round activities to measure how well the outcomes and objectives were achieved. Your grant agreement requires you to provide information to help with this evaluation.

12.6 Acknowledgement

The COALAR Logo, including the Australian Government crest is to be used on all materials related to grants under the Program. Whenever the logo/crest is used the publication must also acknowledge the Commonwealth as follows:

‘This activity received grant funding from the Council on Australia Latin America Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

13. Probity

COALAR will ensure that the program process is fair, according to the published guidelines, incorporates appropriate safeguards against fraud, unlawful activities and other inappropriate conduct and is consistent with the CGRGs.

13.1 Enquiries and feedback

All complaints about the grant process must be lodged in writing with the Secretariat.

Any questions you have about grant decisions for the Program should be sent to coalar@dfat.gov.au

You may wish to list @dfat.gov.au as a trusted emailer in your email system.

If you do not agree with the way DFAT has handled your complaint, you may complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will not usually look into a complaint unless the matter has first been raised directly with DFAT.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman can be contacted on:

         Phone (Toll free): 1300 362 072
Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.au
Website: www.ombudsman.gov.au

13.2 Conflicts of interest

Any conflicts of interest could affect the performance of the grant. There may be a conflict of interest, or perceived conflict of interest, if DFAT staff, any member of the assessment committee and/or you or any of your personnel:

  • has a professional, commercial or personal relationship with a party who is able to influence the application selection process, such as an Australian Government officer
  • has a relationship with an organisation which is likely to interfere with or restrict the applicants from carrying out the proposed activities fairly and independently or
  • has a relationship with, or interest in, an organisation from which they will receive personal gain because the organisation receives funding under the Program.

You will be asked to declare, as part of your application, any perceived or existing conflicts of interests or that, to the best of your knowledge, there is no conflict of interest.

If you later identify that there is an actual, apparent, or potential conflict of interest or that one might arise in relation to a grant application, you must inform COALAR in writing immediately. Board Members and other officials including the decision maker must also declare any conflicts of interest.

The COALAR Chair will be made aware of any conflicts of interest and will handle them as set out in Australian Government policies and procedures. Conflicts of interest for Australian Government staff will be handled as set out in the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct (Section 13(7)) of the Public Service Act 1999. We publish our conflict of interest policy, available on DFAT website.

13.3 Privacy

COALAR treats your personal information according to the 13 Australian Privacy Principles and the Privacy Act 1988. This includes letting you know:

  • what personal information we collect
  • why we collect your personal information
  • who we give your personal information to

You are required, as part of your application, to declare your ability to comply with the Privacy Act 1988, including the Australian Privacy Principles and impose the same privacy obligations on any subcontractors you engage to assist with the activity. You must ask for the Australian Government’s consent in writing before disclosing confidential information.

Your personal information can only be disclosed to someone else if you are given reasonable notice of the disclosure; where disclosure is authorised or required by law or is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law; if it will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person’s life or health; or if you have consented to the disclosure.

The Australian Government may also use and disclose information about grant applicants and grant recipients under the Program in any other Australian Government business or function. This includes giving information to the Australian Taxation Office for compliance purposes.

COALAR may reveal confidential information to:

  • the committee and other Commonwealth employees and contractors to help us manage the program effectively
  • employees and contractors of our department so we can research, assess, monitor and analyse our programs and activities
  • employees and contractors of other Commonwealth agencies for any purposes, including government administration, research or service delivery
  • other Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government agencies in program reports and consultations
  • the Auditor-General, Ombudsman or Privacy Commissioner
  • the responsible Minister or Parliamentary Secretary
  • a House or a Committee of the Australian Parliament.

COALAR may share the information you give us with other Commonwealth agencies for any purposes including government administration, research or service delivery and according to Australian laws, including the:

  • Public Service Act 1999
  • Public Service Regulations 1999
  • Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act
  • Privacy Act 1988
  • Crimes Act 1914
  • Criminal Code Act 1995

The grant agreement will include any specific requirements about special categories of information collected, created or held under the grant agreement.

13.4 Confidential Information

Other than information available in the public domain, you agree not to disclose to any person, other than us, any confidential information relating to the grant application and/or agreement, without our prior written approval. The obligation will not be breached where you are required by law, Parliament or a stock exchange to disclose the relevant information or where the relevant information is publicly available (other than through breach of a confidentiality or non-disclosure obligation).

We may at any time, require you to arrange for you; or your employees, agents or subcontractors to give a written undertaking relating to nondisclosure of our confidential information in a form we consider acceptable.

We will keep any information in connection with the grant agreement confidential to the extent that it meets all of the three conditions below:

  1. 1. you clearly identify the information as confidential and explain why we should treat it as confidential
  2. 2. the information is commercially sensitive
  3. 3. revealing the information would cause unreasonable harm to you or someone else.

We will not be in breach of any confidentiality agreement if the information is disclosed to:

  • the [committee] and other Commonwealth employees and contractors to help us manage the program effectively
  • employees and contractors of our department so we can research, assess, monitor and analyse our programs and activities
  • employees and contractors of other Commonwealth agencies for any purposes, including government administration, research or service delivery
  • other Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government agencies in program reports and consultations
  • the Auditor-General, Ombudsman or Privacy Commissioner
  • the responsible Minister or Parliamentary Secretary, and
  • a House or a Committee of the Australian Parliament.

The grant agreement may also include any specific requirements about special categories of information collected, created or held under the grant agreement.

13.5 Freedom of information

All documents in the possession of the Australian Government, including those about the Program, are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

The purpose of the FOI Act is to give members of the public rights of access to information held by the Australian Government and its entities. Under the FOI Act, members of the public can seek access to documents held by the Australian Government. This right of access is limited only by the exceptions and exemptions necessary to protect essential public interests and private and business affairs of persons in respect of whom the information relates.

All Freedom of Information requests must be referred to the Freedom of Information Coordinator in writing.

By mail: The Director, Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Corporate Legal Branch
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R.G. Casey Building, John McEwen Crescent
BARTON ACT 0221

By email: foi@dfat.gov.au

14. Glossary

Term

Definition

accountable authority

see subsection 12(2) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

assessment criteria

are the specified principles or standards, against which applications will be judged. These criteria are also used to assess the merits of proposals and, in the case of a competitive grant opportunity, to determine application rankings.

commencement date

the expected start date for the grant activity

completion date

the expected date that the grant activity must be completed and the grant spent by

co-sponsoring entity

when two or more entities are responsible for the policy and the appropriation for outcomes associated with it

date of effect

can be the date on which a grant agreement is signed or a specified starting date. Where there is no grant agreement, entities must publish information on individual grants as soon as practicable.

decision maker

the person who makes a decision to award a grant

eligibility criteria

refer to the mandatory criteria which must be met to qualify for a grant. Assessment criteria may apply in addition to eligibility criteria.

Commonwealth entity

a Department of State, or a Parliamentary Department, or a listed entity or a body corporate established by a law of the Commonwealth. See subsections 10(1) and (2) of the PGPA Act

Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs)

establish the overarching Commonwealth grants policy framework and articulate the expectations for all non-corporate Commonwealth entities in relation to grants administration. Under this overarching framework, non-corporate Commonwealth entities undertake grants administration based on the mandatory requirements and key principles of grants administration. 

grant

for the purposes of the CGRGs, a ‘grant’ is an arrangement for the provision of financial assistance by the Commonwealth or on behalf of the Commonwealth:

a. under which relevant money[7] or other Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) money[8] is to be paid to a grantee other than the Commonwealth; and

b. which is intended to help address one or more of the Australian Government’s policy outcomes while assisting the grantee achieve its objectives.

grant activity/activities

refers to the project/tasks/services that the grantee is required to undertake

grant agreement

sets out the relationship between the parties to the agreement, and specifies the details of the grant

GrantConnect

is the Australian Government’s whole-of-government grants information system, which centralises the publication and reporting of Commonwealth grants in accordance with the CGRGs

grant opportunity

refers to the specific grant round or process where a Commonwealth grant is made available to potential grantees. Grant opportunities may be open or targeted, and will reflect the relevant grant selection process.

grant program

a ‘program’ carries its natural meaning and is intended to cover a potentially wide range of related activities aimed at achieving government policy outcomes. A grant program is a group of one or more grant opportunities under a single [entity] Portfolio Budget Statement Program.

grantee

the individual/organisation which has been selected to receive a grant

PBS Program

described within the entity’s Portfolio Budget Statement, PBS programs each link to a single outcome and provide transparency for funding decisions. These high-level PBS programs often comprise a number of lower level, more publicly recognised programs, some of which will be Grant Programs. A PBS Program may have more than one Grant Program associated with it, and each of these may have one or more grant opportunities.

selection criteria

comprise eligibility criteria and assessment criteria.

selection process

the method used to select potential grantees. This process may involve comparative assessment of applications or the assessment of applications against the eligibility criteria and/or the assessment criteria.

value with money

value with money in this document refers to ‘value with relevant money’ which is a judgement based on the grant proposal representing an efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of public resources and determined from a variety of considerations.

When administering a grant opportunity, an official should consider the relevant financial and non-financial costs and benefits of each proposal including, but not limited to:

  • the quality of the project proposal and activities;
  • fitness for purpose of the proposal in contributing to government objectives;
  • that the absence of a grant is likely to prevent the grantee and government’s outcomes being achieved; and
  • the potential grantee’s relevant experience and performance history.

Appendix A. Acronyms

Acronyms used in these guidelines, online and within application forms

AAC
Australia-ASEAN Council
ABN
Australian Business Number
ACDGP
Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grant Program
ACN
Australian Company Number
AEDT
Australian Eastern Daylight Time
AEST
Australian Eastern Standard Time
AIC
Australia-India Council
AII
Australia-Indonesia Institute
AJF
Australia-Japan Foundation
AKF
Australia-Korea Foundation
ASEAN
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
CAAR
Council for Australian-Arab Relations
CGRGs
Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines
COALAR
Council on Australia Latin America Relations
CV
Curriculum Vitae
DFAT
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
FCI
Foundations, Councils and Institutes
FOI
Freedom of Information
GST
Goods and Services Tax
IRGP
International Relations Grants Program
NFACR
National Foundation for Australia-China Relations
PBS
Portfolio Budget Statement
PGPA Act
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act

Footnotes

  • [1] The advancement of Australia’s international strategic, security and economic interests including through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement on Australian government foreign, trade and international development priorities.
  • [2] https://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/commonwealth-grants-rules-and-guidelines.pdf
  • [3] The Australian Government recognises that some organisations may seek to form consortia in order to apply for a grant under the Program. Consortia are eligible to apply and the relevant conditions applicable to consortia are at 7.2 ‘Grant Applications from Consortia’.
  • [4] Alterations and addenda include but are not limited to: corrections to currently published documents, changes to close times for applications, Questions and Answers (Q&A) documents and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents
  • [5] Board members are treated as Commonwealth officials due to their role in the assessment process in accordance with Part 1, section 2.8 of the CGRGs and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
  • [6] https://www.ato.gov.au/
  • [7] Relevant money is defined in the PGPA Act. See section 8, Dictionary.
  • [8] Other CRF money is defined in the PGPA Act. See section 105, Rules in relation to other CRF money.
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