Funding and finance round-up: August 2018

Civil society strategy

The long-awaited government ‘civil society strategy’ was published on Thursday. You can see our NCVO summary for the sector in our blog post on ‘what you need to know’, as well as the funding and finance takeaway points. The public services summary by Rebecca Young is also worth reading from a funding and finance perspective.

United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund

The government has published some more details about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF), its proposed replacement for the EU Structural Funds. A Ministerial statement by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire confirms that the objective of the SPF will be “to tackle inequalities between communities by raising productivity, especially in those parts of our country whose economies are furthest behind”. It also gave reassurance that the fund will be simpler to administer than EU structural funds, and operate across the devolved nations.

Crucially, the government committed to guarantee funding for all UK projects agreed before exit day that would have otherwise received EU funds, in addition to a UKSPF consultation later in 2018.

In the same statement Brokenshire linked to a policy paper on strengthened Local Partnerships, which outlines their future responsibilities and leadership roles, as well as accountability and performance.

European Social Fund evidence

The co-convened NCVO/ERSA cross-sector working group on the European Social Fund is asking for submissions to inform our response to the forthcoming UK Shared Prosperity Fund consultation.
We are looking for case studies (of projects and individuals), data and research that highlights, in particular, how ESF projects positively impact:

  1. Health and wellbeing
  2. The economic agenda, e.g. by reducing strain on Jobcentre Plus and other services
  3. Those furthest from employment opportunities, furthering the equalities agenda

In addition, we are looking for case studies, data and research from ESF projects and beyond that demonstrate the positive outcomes of:

  1. Multi-agency and/or multi-sector partnerships – identifying need, programme design and delivery
  2. Programmes that effectively foster innovation
  3. An ideal mix of long-term and short-term funding

If you can help, please get in touch with and by the end of August.

Social Impact Bonds report

Research led by the Policy Innovation Research Unit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has published a report advising that Social Impact Bonds (SIBS) are not the only way forward for public sector contracting.

Professor Nicholas Mays, who led the research, said: “Our research provides important information for governments looking for new financing mechanisms for health and care. So far at least, cashable savings from SIBs, despite early hopes and rhetoric, remain unproven. Policymakers should learn from different models but SIBs are no panacea for better commissioning of health and care services.”

Despite this, it’s worth noting that the civil society strategy confirms government’s commitment to growing the use of Social Impact Bonds.

Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator has published a new section of the Code of Fundraising Practice covering online fundraising platforms, and developed guidance for fundraising platforms to help them meet the expected standards of transparency.

Key areas of requirement for online fundraising platforms include:

  • Fees and charges transparency
  • Complaints procedures
  • Refund criteria
  • Fraud prevention
  • Private bank accounts policy

The Fundraising Regulator has also published its annual review, made up of accessible infographics.
The Government committed to ‘review the operation and impact of the Fundraising Regulator’ in the Civil Society Strategy.

Insurance Premium Tax

Zurich are seeking responses to their survey on Insurance Premium Tax. The survey aims to compile an understanding of how IPT affects charitable organisations ahead of the next Budget.

Society lotteries consultation

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has launched a consultation on changes to the rules relating to society lotteries.

The proposals are to:

  • Allow a tenfold increase in the amount that a large society lottery can raise per year, bringing the annual limit to £100m.
  • Rise the per draw sales limit to £5m and
  • Increase the maximum prize to £500,000.

NCVO is responding to this consultation so if you want to feed in please get in touch with Douglas Dowell at

Government department grant-funding guidance

The Cabinet Office has published best practice guidance to assist grant-funding departments. The revisions are focused on providing additional advice and support for grant makers in specific areas such as: developing due diligence and fraud risk assessment models, gaining assurance against expenditure, and developing performance monitoring regimes. The guidance will be subject to a further review in 2019.

These announcements are in line with the ’revival of grant-making’ for public services outlined in the Civil Society Strategy and summarised in Rebecca’s blog.

Making tax digital

From April 2019 all VAT registered charities with a taxable turnover above the £85,000 VAT threshold will be required to keep their VAT records digitally and send their VAT returns using Making Tax Digital compatible software.

To help charities prepare for these changes, the Charity Tax Group has published new guidance on Making Tax Digital.

Update from Funding Central

The much anticipated Big Lottery ‘Building Connections Fund’ opened for applications in July.
The fund worth £11.5 million is a partnership between Big Lottery, Government and Co-op foundation and is open to projects in England that are tackling loneliness. Whilst the main fund closes on 24th August the ‘Building Connections Youth Fund’ strand is now open with an application deadline of 26th September.
This funding delivered by the Coop Foundation is aimed at talking youth loneliness and is available for projects that support any groups of young people within the most deprived 30% areas of England. Find out more on Funding Central

NatWest have announced that there will be one final round of their Skills and Opportunities Fund opening on 3rd September.

The fund offers grants to voluntary sector organisations for projects that provide opportunities for people to develop their financial capability skills or skills to develop a new business now or in the future in local communities.

Find out more information on Funding Central including examples of the some of the wide range of projects that have been awarded funding previously

Remember you can apply from the 3rd of September so get it in the diary!

To find out more about these funds; to search for thousands of other local, regional, national and European funding opportunities and to receive our weekly funding updates visit Funding Central.


NCVO/VSSN Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference 2018

6-7 September 2018

An opportunity for academics, policy makers and practitioners to share and discuss research that addresses the conference theme of trust, transparency and accountability and the broader issues facing the voluntary sector and volunteering.

NCVO/BWB Trustee Conference 2018: Good governance, great organisations

5 November 2018

Join us as we explore the key principles of good governance and how to embed them across your organisation.

Writing a sustainable funding strategy:

25-26 September 2018
For managers or trustees who have the responsibility for developing a funding strategy. Sustainable funding is more than just fundraising. It is more strategic, more flexible and is built around the aim of reducing an organisation’s exposure to risk while increasing its ability to pursue strategic goals.


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Avatar photo James was a Trainee Policy Officer at NCVO until February 2019. His primary area of work is funding and finance, including providing secretariat support for the Charity Tax Commission. He also works on safeguarding EU funding post-Brexit.

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