Principles for Positive Partnership

Principles for Positive Partnership gives guidance on relationships between Scottish Government and third sector grantholders. It aims to help SG grant managers and third sector grant holders:

  • achieve positive funding relationships in the first place
  • tackle any problems in a productive way
  • Principles for Positive Partnerships

    This guidance should help you feel more confident in your funding relationship and work together to achieve positive outcomes and learning from grant funding. It is for people in the

The guidance was produced by a working group of officials and grantholders and launched at an event in January 2020. Read the event report:

There is a renewed need for effective funding relationships to achieve positive outcomes for the people of Scotland in the context of Covid-19 recovery and other challenges. So, ESS, SCVO and the Scottish Government Third Sector Unit (TSU) are acting to re-energise the guidance by running roundtables in October 2022 and February 2023 and developing an action plan to ensure positive change. We will update these pages with progress. Or please get in touch by emailing

Broader work to support Scottish Government as a funder:

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 ESS good practice on reporting and ask funded organisations to measure what’s within their control
  • People: good funding is about good relationships. Principles for Positive Partnerships can help. 

ESS runs a workshop for Scottish Government officials with funding responsibilities to build their skills and knowledge on grant management in line with the three Ps.