This page is part of our decision support tool.

You should interpret these principles flexibly to achieve desired ends through the most sensible means. The important considerations are:

  • Focus on outcomes: do not focus unduly on the process of awarding funds. Your primary concern should be achieving the outcomes [Footnote 1] desired
  • Empathy: if you and the funded organisation understand each other’s needs and requirements, this should help to avoid problems and achieve outcomes
  • Simplicity and proportionality: make the funding process as simple as possible. Controls over payments, information requirements, monitoring and evaluation and external inspection should be in proportion to the level of, and risk to, the funds involved Well-managed risk taking: you should not be overly risk averse. You should manage risk: tailor it to achieve the most effective and appropriate balance of risk between you and the funded organisation [see Annex B: Note on risk management].
  • Commonality and co-ordination: where possible, seek to join up or standardise the elements of your funding model with other appropriate funding models, such as those used by other government funders in allied policy areas or in funding the same organisations
  • Timeliness: allow time for planning, decision making and action
  • Transparency and accountability: take funding decisions on a basis that is open to both government and the interested organisations.

To achieve these, make good use of internal expertise in good funding and commissioning practice: involve your organisation’s legal advisers, finance departments and procurement units. Also involve external stakeholders. You can learn a lot from the potential beneficiaries and providers of your programme [Footnote 2]. This may raise expectations among external stakeholders. However, these expectations can be managed if the process is fair and outcomes are seen to be paramount in your process of engagement.


  1. Note that‘outcomes’ (the generic result of any inputs or outputs) has a different meaning to ‘outputs’ (the measurable or numeric results from any given input).
  2. In any funding or commissioning exercise conducted through procurement, this engagement with organisations must be done outside the procurement process.

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A ‘level playing-field’