The transition fund and open data

A quick post from me here. Yesterday, the Cabinet Office released details of the first organisations to be funded by the £100m Transition Fund. The Cabinet Office says the money will:

“fund the crucial changes that these organisations need to make to take advantage of the new opportunities available to them from opening up public sector contracts; these changes may include restructuring, scaling up or merging or diversifying income streams.”

I’ll leave it to others to comment on the pros and cons of the fund, but from a research perspective it’s really interesting for us to be able to see which organisations are funded. We can then compare the funded organisations to charities as a whole – are the organisations that are funded typical of the organisations targeted by the fund initially? Is the fund reaching the most vulnerable? Are there gaps in provision?

Fortunately, the Cabinet Office did publish details of the first 18 organisations to receive funding. They published their name, location and the amount of the funding.

But for this data to be really useful – particularly when many more than 18 organisations are funded – it would be great to have a unique, transferable identifier for the organisations.

The table does tell us the name of the organisation, but in many cases this is not enough. Sometimes organisations are known by working names, or by acronyms. Sometimes a name is spelt differently, or leaves out words from the “official” registered name.

We do have a unique identifier for charities – their charity registration number. This number, issued by the Charity Commission, is used as an ID in the register of charities, and can be found in the charity’s annual accounts and should also be on their website.

It’s slightly unfair to pick on this one example, and it is great that the Cabinet Office is being open about who it funds. But the list could be even more useful if they also included a charity number for each of the charities on the list. They could also publish later lists (which will be longer) in a useful and transferable format, such as CSV.

To help them along, I’ve reproduced the list of charities below with the addition of their Charity Register Number. You can click on the number to take you to their record on the Register of Charities, to find out more about what they do.

Organisation Location Grant Charity Number
Bede House Association London, SE16 £198,899 303199
Shire Training Workshops Limited Stroud, Gloucestershire £89,570 285834
Isle of Wight Law Centre Limited Newport, Isle of Wight £61,941 1102853
Somerset Youth Volunteering Network Glastonbury, Somerset £97,000 1096507
Vital Regeneration London, NW8 £146,300 1110882
Disability Action In Islington London, N1 £74,734 1055692
Living Options Devon Exeter, Devon £89,454 1102489
Domestic Violence Integrated Response Project Leicester £103,000 1122344
Building Futures East Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear £151,000 1125555
Umbrella Derby £35,000 700884
Middlesbrough Environment City Trust Limited Middlesbrough, Cleveland £15,130 1070131
Headway Devon Exeter, Devon £50,000 1097870
Islington People’s Rights London, N7 £76,000 1077688
Headliners (UK) London, E1 £151,329 1043300
SkyWay Charity London, E2 £151,000 1093239
Olmec London, EC2A £120,000 1100007
Incest and Sexual Abuse Survivors Newark, Nottinghamshire £26,800 1076138
North Yorkshire Youth Limited Thirsk, North Yorkshire £107,062 1116521
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David Kane David Kane was formerly NCVO’s Senior Research Officer. He discusses open data and emerging trends in the voluntary and community sector and wider civil society.

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