Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 488 - 499)




  488. Good morning. Thank you very much indeed for coming to see us. We are well under way now. We are in a little bit of a limbo as to knowing who is going to operate the Lottery but somebody is going to do it. Meanwhile, I think this is the first time we have had you before us.
  (Mr Dunmore) Indeed.

  Chairman: Therefore, we are particularly interested in what you have to say. I will ask Mr Fearn to start the questioning.

Mr Fearn

  489. You receive a great proportion of Lottery proceeds from other distribution bodies. Are you confident that you can spend such large sums effectively?
  (Mr Dunmore) Yes. I think we certainly are confident about that. As you know, under our current programmes we have been given an amount to deliver of £1.5 billion. We have been in existence now for something like just over two years and in that time we have set up 13 different programmes under those first six initiatives. All of those programmes are now live. We have made grants so far of £125 million and we have committed another £511 million to projects, so we are almost half-way through committing the money under the first six initiatives. It is important to remember that the policy directions, which we have been given, in most cases give timescales for our delivering these initiatives, and most of the programmes that we are running go on until 2002 to 2003.

  490. What do you mean by timescales?
  (Mr Dunmore) What the policy directions say is that we should distribute the money to projects, under the terms of reference of that particular initiative set out in the policy directions, within a given timeframe. For example, in terms of childcare, we have (from memory) five years to deliver the childcare programme, which is £220 million worth of grants UK-wide. So I am really just making the point that one needs to look over the lifetime of the programme. Obviously we will be judged by our results and how effectively we performed, once we have all the grants out of the door, but we are making very good progress.

  491. Do you expect the same sum of £1.5 billion for the next licence?
  (Mr Dunmore) What the consultation paper that DCMS has issued says is that the new initiatives which they are proposing, on which they are consulting, will amount (from memory) to £1.45 billion. So, yes, it is roughly the same amount for our new initiatives.

  492. Do you see yourselves taking on the Millennium Commission's role as funding body of last resort, as it were?
  (Mr Dunmore) No, I do not think my Board would see us as the funding body of last resort. We have very specific programmes and projects to fund under health, education, and the environment. It is interesting though that, in some respects, we will take over the mantle of the Millennium Commission. Just to give you one particular example. The Millennium Commission have been particularly good at funding a whole range of small-scale environmental projects. We would be able to do that through the initiative that we are rolling out at the moment, the Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities initiative. There will also be opportunities for us to fund community-based environmental projects through one of our new initiatives, Transforming Communities, which is one of the ones that are set out in the consultation document.

  493. We have just been to America—on a hard working tour, I might add—and whilst we were over there, we found out that lottery proceeds there do go to education. More often than not, they are for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, to enable them to go to university. Is there anything in your opportunities which does that?
  (Mr Dunmore) Not currently. But we are funding that sort of work in, shall I say, indirect ways. One of our initial set of programmes is out of school hours learning, which can apply to children up to the age of 16. We have £205 million for that programme UK-wide. We have allocated almost half of that already to a wide range of schemes which are about giving children—particularly, as you mentioned, disadvantaged children—opportunities which they might not otherwise have, to build their confidence and build their skills outside the classroom, and then to take those skills back into the way they perform in classroom study through curriculum subjects.

  494. Where do the applications come from for those initiatives?
  (Mr Dunmore) For that particular initiative, what it says in the policy directions and what we have translated into the way we deliver the programme, is that there has to be a named school or schools for each of the projects. Therefore, applications may come from individual schools. They may come from groups of schools working together. They may come from voluntary sector bodies. We have some very good instances of that where voluntary sector bodies have got together with a whole range of schools to deliver, for example, a particular activity in art or drama. But, also, applications may come from LEAs, who can put together consortium applications across their particular area involving the most disadvantaged schools. There are some advantages to that in terms of strategic planning and making sure you target on schools that are most in need.

  495. How many are you turning down? What proportion of those that apply are you turning down?
  (Mr Dunmore) I think it is quite successful in that respect, which may be a reflection of the fact that we are getting the application form more-or-less right. We are approving over three-quarters of the projects that come into that programme. For consortium bids that come in under the out of school hours learning programmes, it is a good deal higher than that: at the top end of the 80s, 90 per cent.

Mrs Golding

  496. I have had my copy this week from Camelot, telling me of the small amount of money they have allocated to my constituency, Newcastle-under-Lyme, but I do not see the New Opportunities Fund mentioned in it at all. How do I identify the areas where grants have been given and where you have put in money?
  (Mr Dunmore) Although it is perhaps not appropriate here, we can rehearse the grants that we have given in your constituency. Just to paint the general picture, we write to all MPs about all of the grants we award in their constituencies. I know a lot of paper crosses your desk so that may not always get through to the parts that it needs to reach. We post all of our grant awards on our web site, which is obviously accessible to anyone who wants to get into it.

  497. It does not really answer my question. I have no mention of you in the grants that have been awarded and I have been sent the full list. Is it because you have not made any grants in my constituency?
  (Mr Dunmore) No, we have made a number of grants in your constituency.

  498. Why would you not be in the list? Why would your name not be there?
  (Mr Dunmore) I am not quite sure whose list this is. Is this Camelot's list?

  499. Yes.
  (Mr Dunmore) Is it meant to be a comprehensive list of all the grants made to your constituencies?

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