The More Accessible Government initiative and GrantsLINK – a community grants information web siteKathryn MaxwellA/g Director – More Accessible GovernmentCommonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services
More Accessible Government What is the Problem? A clear message from communities is that there are difficulties and complexities in accessing government programs and resources, particularly for regional Australia. What is the Commonwealth Government doing to address this issue? Taking a whole of government approach and establishing a working group on More Accessible Government. This working group involves 16 Federal Government agencies working together. What has been achieved so far? The More Accessible Government work, being driven by the Department of Transport and Regional Services, has already made some significant gains in addressing these issues.
More Accessible Government Grants/Funding The Commonwealth Government has implemented a number of substantial programmes to assist our regional communities. People have had difficulty in keeping abreast of the broad range of opportunities to access funding. GrantsLINK The website, www.grantslink.gov.au has been established to address this problem. • Conveniently access up to date information on Commonwealth Government funding programmes. • This way communities can find the right funding programs for projects that meet their needs.
GrantsLINK • Launched 11th May, 2001 @ Parliament House By: The Deputy Prime Minister The Hon John Anderson (MP) Grant information from across the Commonwealth in one website... GrantsLINK is also available through a freecall service, 1800 026 222...
GrantsLINK How did we do it? • Agencies were asked to nominate the programmes they wanted listed on the site • An AGLS metadata implementation guide was created in the hope that agencies would use metadata to describe grants programmes • The database at the back-end of the site is structured as an AGLS metadata record • Relying on AGLS has not worked in the short-term • the database had to be created manually based on existing AGLS metadata records and records that were written especially for the GrantsLINK project • The user interface was extensively tested to ensure it was useable and accessible
GrantsLINK Key features of the site: • GrantsFINDER provides multiple ‘Browse’ methods to accommodate different ways to locate the same information • A ‘Quick find’ search available on every page of the site • An advanced search page where users can choose which data elements to include/exclude and define the type of search – any words, all words, exact phrase • GrantsASSIST provides the means through which users can ask questions, provide comments and get some research done on their behalf • The directory content is dynamically generated using ColdFusion • the site can be updated from any Internet enabled computer • the site has built in administration at the back-end to process and archive enquiries which is supported by multi-level secure access
GrantsLINK What did we learn by building GrantsLINK? • The process of getting Government truly ‘online’ has a long way to go • Even though AGLS is mandated for use in all Commonwealth agencies enhancing its coverage and accuracy needs to be an ongoing process • The perception people have about what exactly is a grant differs • Despite providing detailed instructions, multiple pathways and information about what assistance is available • users don’t read the instructions • users don’t follow logical pathways • users expect you to know they “actually meant to ask”
GrantsLINK Where to now? • Continue to work with agencies to improve their AGLS metadata • Expanding the amount of information provided about each grant programme • details of the amount of funding available • closing dates for applications • State / Territory content? – perhaps… • this would not preclude States from running their own version of a ‘GrantsLINK’ • States / Territories are implementing AGLS so data will be compatible and easily shared across jurisdictions
Into the Future More Accessible Government The Working Group will continue to look at ways of making the Commonwealth Government more accessible. For example, it is currently working on standardising the funding arrangements and reporting requirements for Commonwealth grants. Contact: Kathryn Maxwell A/g Director – More Accessible Government Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services Telephone: (02) 6274 6160 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org