Should grants have a status field?

This topic is based on a Github issue.

Should grants have a ‘status’ field to indicate ‘applications’, ‘accepted’, ‘rejected’ grants etc?

Some suggested values were:
In Progress

Would it help to get more information and about the status of the grants?
We currently don’t show prominently is a grant was awarded or granted, and we don’t accommodate rejected grants.

I expect it would be beneficial to include a status for some funding, but I can’t imagine many organisations would use the “rejected” value. They will likely only publish grants that have been approved, so if they were cancelled for any reason they may want to share this but would use the “Cancelled” description.

This raises a second issue, which is maintaining the status of the grant. Once grants have ended or if they’re cancelled, is it reasonable to expect an organisation to make this update to their data? It is for smaller funders, but I doubt the larger ones would be able to maintain this; plus it would mean refreshing all their data, not just adding new data to their publication. Can we expect Big Lottery, Lloyds, Comic Relief and others that provide large amounts of small grants to regularly do this?

I’m interested to hear what other Standards bodies have learnt from this, e.g. IATI. Are the status fields used regularly and is the data maintained in a timely way, e.g. the status is updated within an appropriate time period of the grant ending.

As a platform managing applications all the way from initial creation through to acquittals, we absolutely want this. (And its absence is one of the reasons we couldn’t immediately adopt the 360Giving standard). We have at least one grantmaking organisation that wants to publish rejected (“declined”) applications. It’s a minority for sure, but it may well grow, and we certainly encourage this kind of transparency in the sector.

There are several councils in Australia whose grantmaking processes are impressively open, with full disclosure of assessments and decisions available on their websites.

Our terminology, FWIW is: withdrawn, undecided, declined, approved. I don’t think we have a specific term post-acquittal (“Completed”). I don’t know about “expecting an organisation to make this update to their data” - I don’t think it’s problematic to leave a grant at “Approved”, rather than switching it to “Completed” some months/years later.

Notice also a difference in our terminology of “applications” (which we still call them even after approval) vs “grants” (which is such an ambiguous term, as it can mean both “things you can apply for” and “funded projects”).

This would be useful, although if used properly then the value could be inferred from some other fields. For example

  • if actualDates.startDate is in the past and endDate is in the future, the grant is in progress
  • if amountDisbursed is zero and endDate is in the past then the grant has been cancelled
  • combinations of applicationTransaction, commitmentTransaction and disbursementTransaction

In the data we produce I don’t think it’s useful. Applications and grants are separate entities. A grant doesn’t come into being until an application is successful. So a grant cannot have a lifecycle that includes eg rejected; that’s something associated only with an application. Grants are either awarded or not awarded.