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Principles for Positive Partnership

HandshakeAn experienced group of third sector grantholders and Scottish Government grant managers has drafted Principles for Positive Partnership to meet an identified need for practical guidance to help Scottish Government grantholders and grant managers achieve positive funding relationships in the first place and, if problems arise, tackle them productively.  We invited feedback on the draft guidance and we are now reflecting on consultation responses.  We will revise the guidance and relaunch it by early 2020.

See the guidance here.  But please be aware this version will be updated in the light of consultation responses.

If you have any questions about this work please email 

Principles for Positive Partnership is part of a broader programme of work.   Third Sector Unit (TSU) and ESS are working together to implement Ministerial commitments to improve third sector funding. 

ESS has worked with a few Scottish Government (SG) departments and their funded organisations and we have undertaken a small enquiry to find out the funding experiences of third sector organisations.  We run training for SG officials on grant management and reporting.

We have identified “Three Ps” that make for successful SG Funding.

  • Purpose of funding: be clear about the outcomes the grant is contributing to and the gap the third sector is filling. Set measurable outcomes for the third sector grantholder to measure and report on.
  • Processes:  keep the paperwork simple, follow Harmonising Reporting and ask funded organisations to measure what’s within their control
  • People: good funding is about good relationships.  When things go wrong it’s often about relationships. 

The recognition of the importance of the “people” side of successful funding led us to establish the Positive Partnership working group.

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