Memorandum submitted by the National Lottery
1. The Committee has already received written
evidence submitted jointly by the Lottery Distributors. This adds
to that submission.
2. The NLCB was set up in 1994 though it
only became operational in 1995. It was a new NDPB whose statutory
remit was to give grants to meet the expenditure of charities
and other eligible philanthropic and benevolent voluntary organisations.
The first awards were made in October 1995 and by the end of March
2000, 31,694 grants had been made totalling just over one and
a half billion pounds (see Appendix A).
3. The first grants programmes were themed:
poverty; youth issues; health; disability and care; new opportunities
and choices (covering lifelong learning); housing and the environment.
Since 1998, after consultation with the voluntary sector, the
NLCB has run two parallel continuous large grants programmes (Poverty
and Disadvantage and Community Involvement). It pioneered the
original Small Grants scheme for small organisations with an income
of up to £15,000 a year who could apply more simply for amounts
between £500 and £5,000 and receive a quicker response.
This became the joint distributor Awards for All scheme, first
in Scotland then England. Awards for All will replace our small
grants scheme in Northern Ireland in April 2001. We believe that
the entire programme would be enhanced if the New Opportunities
Fund were able to join the scheme. This programme has been successful
4. Because the NLCB recognised that the
sector from which it would draw its applications was extraordinarily
diverse and at different stages in its development, a major theme
running through NLCBs grant giving has been that of voluntary
5. Specialist grants programmes have also
been developed by the NLCB. There have been five time-limited
international grants programmes open to UK based charities working
outside the UK and two research programmes open to charities concerned
with both medical and social research. It is the NLCBs intention
to run both these programmes on a continuous basis during 2001.
6. From the outset, the Board decided to
allocate its budget across the UK on the basis of population weighted
by a range of indicators which took account of relative deprivation
in different parts of the UK. For the purposes of distribution
the four countries of the UK and the nine regions of England have
separate allocations and a percentage of the grant money is kept
aside for all UK, International and Research applications. This
formula is currently under review.
7. The NLCB has set up grant making committees
(and offices) in the four countries of the UK and in the English
regions and from the outset has been committed to bringing grant
making down to the appropriate regional level. Following the new
powers given to us in the legislation in 1998, the NLCB has delegated
grant-making in England to nine Regional Awards Committees, (supported
by nine regional offices), whose members are appointed by the
England Committee after advertisement and interview, or in the
case of two members, selected by lot. The Board retains its own
committee of Board Members for grant making to International,
Research and UK-wide applicants.
8. The NLCB has always sought to be sensitive
to the particular issues faced by the diverse and very large charity
and community sector in the UK. Recognising that the entrance
of the NLCB into the charitable funding field would have an impact
on the sector in general and the community sector in particular,
it has attempted to consult widely with the sector about grant
programmes and has commissioned research to identify the needs
of its various applicants.
9. Reasons for refusal of a grant are now
given in all cases and many organisations are encouraged to apply
again with amended bids. Frequently on subsequent attempts they
are successful in their application.
10. It is now just over five years since
we gave our first grant so Board members decided that it was time
to review the past, build on the sure foundations laid and consider
how best the organisation should develop in the future. Accordingly
a strategic meeting was held by the Board members and the senior
staff in October 2000, the purpose of which was to define our
future direction and consider the steps needed to prepare our
new Strategic Plan for 2002-2005.
11. It is well recognised by the Board that
the operating climate has changed considerably since the 1993
legislation setting up the National Lottery was passed. Apart
from the fact that the National Lottery has been more successful
than predicted, there has been a change of government, devolution
to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, a shift in the funding
climate towards partnership and more emphasis on outcomes. There
are voluntary sector issues such as a sustainability and funding
for core posts or the shortage of volunteers. The NLCB has to
be aware of these issues.
12. The NLCB is now an established funder
of the voluntary and community sector and as such has to attempt
to be as responsive and effective as it can be within its limited
resources (which account for under 2 per cent of the total funding
of the voluntary sector).
13. The Board, whilst not changing the general
direction of the NLCB, has agreed that it intends to target its
resources more over the next three to five years and concentrate
more on impact, whilst also continuing to respond to good grant
applications by applicants.
14. For the time being its current mission
statement will continue to be the basis of all its work. The Board's
mission is to make grants to groups which help those at greatest
disadvantage and which improve the quality of life in the community.
It will continue to adhere to the values and advantages of being
a UK-wide organisation but has recognised that it must put the
principles of subidiarity into practice at the country and regional
level. It has confirmed that equality of opportunity must be central
in its grant making, will seek to be more customer focused and
responsive, and less bureaucratic, but at the same time retaining
the current integrity of its processes.
15. We will launch two new continuous specialist
programmes (Research in June 2001 and International in early 2002),
and amalgamate our current two large grants programmes (Comunity
Involvement and Poverty and Disadvantage) into one. We will introduce
a new simplified programme for those applying for grants up to
£60,000 (to be piloted in three areas). We are considering
the introduction of one or more new UK-wide high-level focused
programmes. We are undertaking considerable work on evaluation
and have developed a research strategy to develop our grant making.
16. The application of the principle of
subsidiary means that there are and will continue to be specific
funding priorities at country and regional level, although the
NLCB will remain a UK-wide generalist grant giver. These local
funding priorities will be sensitive to the needs of each geographic
area and we will use the knowledge gained and our experience of
the operation of funding priorities during the period of the current
strategic plan to develop the next.
17. We are very conscious of the advantages
of new technology and the Internet and the speed of change. We
plan to establish a joint web site with other Lottery Distributors
early in 2001, in addition to the existing NLCB web site and we
have introduced a new and more accessible application form on
18. The NLCB, in its desire to be efficient
and effective, has developed a system of performance indicators
and monitoring procedures. We are in the process of introducing
a custom built major new computer system designed to cope with
present and future demands. We are committed to equality of opportunity
and are seeking IIP status. We have recently completed a review
of our corporate governance.