In response to the Greening Government initiative we are developing an environmental policy which will cover our grant-making and our office practices. We already try to minimise the adverse environmental effects of our operations, including recycling, encouraging your staff to use green transport while travelling on business and introducing low energy lighting. All enquiries, calls and letters are monitored by enquiries officers with monthly reports reviewed by a senior officer. Our monitoring procedures were put in place to help us do this.
Monitoring also helps us to develop effective grant making policy. Our Strategic plan commits us to take steps to measure and maximise the impact of grants by monitoring and evaluating funded projects and publicising good practice. By the end of the year we had made more than 20,000 grants. Monitoring is concerned with the terms and conditions under which we award grants. It relies mainly on self-assessment by the organisations that have received grants. Source: E Conveyancing Melbourne
They provide yearly progress reports measuring performance against defined tasks and an end-of-grant report which measures benefits of the project. Our own, more detailed monitoring is used to validate an organisation’s self-assessment and will include a number of visits each year to funded organisations. In our main grants programmes, all organisations with a grant of more than £200,000 are visited at least once in the life of a grant. Below that a random sample is chosen. During 1998/99 this sample visited increased from two per cent to five per cent. The Small grants scheme and Awards for All programme have simpler procedures, but new monitoring arrangements introduced in September 1998 include visits. In 1998/99, monitoring forms were sent to 6,100 groups which had received a grant under our main grants programmes. Seventy-one per cent of grants in progress were judged satisfactory – delivering key tasks and at least 75 per cent of anticipated benefits.
Twenty-four per cent were partly satisfactory the remaining five per cent required further monitoring or so far had failed to deliver effectively. This is separate from monitoring and looks at those questions about the impact of our grants that cannot be answered simply by managing grants. Evaluation can be applied to projects, types of projects, or even to whole grants programmes. Like many other grant makers we are looking to see how we can develop ways to evaluate the impact our grants programmes make. This is complex because of the range and scale of the grants we make. During 1999/2000 we will start to put in place proposals to evaluate the impact of our grants. We have a grants objections procedure, which deals with concerns about a grant, whether raised by our own staff, the project or organisation staff, or the public. The outreach worker has given seminars to a number of organisations including local councils, Home-Start (for families with children under five years) and carers’ groups.