Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 500 - 519)



  500. Yes. National Lottery in your Constituency.
  (Mr Dunmore) I do not know the answer to that but I can certainly provide you with a list of all the grants we have made in your constituency.

  501. It certainly seems odd. Perhaps somebody else is claiming the credit for the money you have given. The Sports Council or something like that?
  (Mr Dunmore) It is a matter for Camelot to decide what they put round to people. This is all in the public arena. My colleague reminds me that the information that Camelot put out to constituency MPs is based on the DCMS awards database for all of the distributors, and that is based on the information we give to DCMS. I can only think that in your case it is the point in time at which they identified the information but, as I say, we are very happy to give you a list of the grants we have given in your constituency. Indeed, we do that on a regular basis for all MPs.

  502. It just seems odd that it is not included in this massive send-out. However, thank you for that. You also say that you are half-way through giving the money out. Is it that you have a lot more money to give than you have had sufficient applications?
  (Mr Dunmore) It partly relates to the issues of timescale that I was discussing with your colleague. A number of these programmes run over three to four years in terms of application. That is set out in our policy directions. Generally speaking, we are now approaching the half-way mark for most of our programmes. Indeed, as I say, we have allocated almost half of the funding. Clearly the rate at which we do get funding applications does depend on setting up a programme and setting up a customer friendly system in terms of application forms and processes, whereby applicants can easily get to us and put in good quality applications.

  503. So if more people applied now, you would still be able to allocate some of your funds?
  (Mr Dunmore) Indeed. Under all of the programmes, (I think I am right in saying), there is substantial funding remaining, except for cancer machinery in England, where we have allocated all of the money to cancer machinery. Also, the broader conventional palliative care programme, where we have already allocated £23 million to that programme in England.

  504. It is interesting that this project should say that, because we have had money for cancer machinery in my constituency but it is not mentioned in this lot here. Anyway, that is by the by. The other thing, is the money you have in reserve for new grants based on what you anticipate the Lottery is going to bring in? And if it does not bring in as much money as you hope, what happens to the fund?
  (Mr Dunmore) The £1.45 billion that the Government is suggesting will be spent on the new initiatives, on which it is consulting, which is based on the Government's forecasts of the flow of Lottery funding over the next three to four years. Clearly we then have to base our planning in terms of our cash flow and the rate at which we get the grants out of the door again on those forecasts. There are a range of forecasts—low, medium, high—and we tend to be reasonably prudent and stick to the low to medium forecasts. There is a clause in all of the grants that we make—and this is obviously to protect our own position in terms of the grant conditions that we ask people to observe—which makes it very clear that the grant that we are making will be subject to the availability of funding from the National Lottery.

Derek Wyatt

  505. We have had quite a discussion in America about issues of additionality, yet you have health and education which comes pretty close to whatever the rules and regulations and words say of crossing the additionality divide. How do you feel about that?
  (Mr Dunmore) Additionality is an issue that my Board takes very seriously. The definition that Ministers use is one that we feel comfortable with, which is that Lottery funding—and this does not just apply to the Lottery funding that comes to the New Opportunities Fund—should be additional to current and planned public expenditure. I know that you had evidence from the Arts Council recently. I was struck by the fact that Peter Hewitt said that the grant-in-aid that the Arts Council disburses from Exchequer funding, goes towards the core infrastructure of arts in this country and Lottery funding, in addition to that, goes towards providing time-limited innovative support for various arts projects. So what I would say is that the issue of additionality is one not only for the New Opportunities Fund but also for the distributors in general. Our approach to it is obviously focused on the individual grants that we make. We make it very clear in all of our grant programmes—and, indeed, in the criteria for our assessment which we publish under our grant programmes—that we will not fund activities which are not additional to current and planned public expenditure. Just to give you an example. When I first arrived in this job I had some discussions with an LEA in London, (who shall be nameless), who said to me, "We have been funding out of school hours learning through a very well developed and sophisticated programme across our LEA area over the past five or six years. Now you have arrived we will stop." The answer to that was, "I'm afraid that's not how it works." In terms of individual projects' submissions, we look very carefully at additionality arguments. If it seems to us that projects are not additional to public expenditure, then we will turn them down. It is interesting that most of our applicants understand this very well, whether they are from the voluntary or from the statutory sector. There are very few cases where we have to take issue with them over additionality but we do look at it very carefully.

  506. Where you have had to do that, can you give us an illustration of how you would resolve it? You do not have to name the area but could you name a project or a type of area?
  (Mr Dunmore) Sometimes it is not entirely clear, so we will then discuss the issues with the applicant. You will appreciate that there are very grey areas in this because a lot of the Government's funding programmes that might relate to areas of our spend are time-limited. One thinks of out of school hours learning or healthy living activity centres, which might have been supported in the past through the Single Regeneration Budget or through European funding. In those sorts of cases we tend to try and be reasonably flexible because they are very much time-limited programmes. They always were time-limited programmes. We will discuss with the applicant how we might not substitute obviously for those programmes but come in on the back of those programmes and give added value through doing something new and slightly different. Those are the sorts of discussions we have with the applicants. Just to make a final point, the New Opportunities Fund is very much about—and this was said by the Government when we were set up and it is reflected in our own policy directions, it is reflected in our own objectives—complementing other sources of funding (Government funding but also other funding) in a joined-up way. One of the ways in which we do add value is by contributing to cocktails of funding. In many of these areas, like out of school hours learning and indeed activities around cancer prevention and palliative care, there are great opportunities for us to put in some funding and add value to what others are doing.

  507. I suppose our nervousness about additionality was that (a) it became political and (b) it then became a sop, "They are always going to fund us." When you say time-limited, in the cancer cases where you are funding, in a sense, how can that ever be time-limited?
  (Mr Dunmore) What you are really touching on here is the issue of sustainability.

  508. Yes.
  (Mr Dunmore) The background to that is that all Lottery funding is, by definition, time-limited. A number of our programmes run for quite a long while. We can fund healthy living centres for up to five years which helps. We can fund out of school hours learning for up to three years.
  (Ms Potter) Just to add to that. As Stephen has said, it is an issue that all Lottery distributors have to look at and take very seriously but there are a number of things we have done. For example, on the palliative care and information side of our cancer programme, we have assessed applicants on their long-term funding plans. We have also talked to them about the need to diversify their funding from the very beginning. We try to ensure that they involve a partnership, where they are applying to us so that they have a slightly stronger experience of fund-raising. We have tended, in a programme like that, to be funding slightly more innovative areas, or areas that are not already involved. We are putting a very strong emphasis on evaluating, so there is a clear idea.

  509. Can you illustrate. It is very hard for me to understand what all that means. If you can give a concrete example of funding, we can better understand what happens when the funding goes down.
  (Ms Potter) The cancer programme, breast cancer care, we have made a grant to. The grant is to provide a local breast cancer information support service for black and ethnic minority groups. The funding will be used to build capacity in that sector. To try and identify what the actual information needs of the black and minority ethnic minorities are, because that was one of the things which was very much identified in our consultation, as a gap in cancer provision for those communities. Also, then help to develop and implement development plans to provide services. What we will be paying for is three part-time regional co-ordinators in the north west, north east and the East Midlands, and a volunteer services support worker in London, who will set up four outreach programmes and four new networks. The intention is very much that they will try this model, see if it works, and if it works they will then try and use their general fund-raising experience, either working with statutory bodies or more widely to develop that programme UK-wide.

  510. That seems to me to be additionality, forgive my ignorance. That is something that the state should do because if you are targeting it why are we not targeting it? It is not a criticism of what you do but I am just trying to better understand this grey area of additionality.
  (Mr Dunmore) Certainly I think it is a grey area and we acknowledge that. There may be an argument that it does not do to be too precise about these things because areas of health and education are today funded by a large range of different sources, not least by the private sector in terms of capital spend on hospitals—and, indeed, now on schools—through the Private Finance Initiative. So my view would be that while one needs to treat this with care and caution, not least in political terms, the funding world has changed and we are now in a scenario where in many areas one can give added value by building up partnerships and cocktails of funding. The other point I would make is—and in a sense it relates to what you were saying—a number of the areas that we are funding are relatively new and experimental. Out of school hours learning is one. There is some evidence that it works but we need some more. Another one, which is new and experimental, is the approach which we fund through healthy living centres. Now, if over three to five years we can demonstrate conclusively that healthy living centres have real health benefits for communities, and that out of school hours learning has real benefits for children in the classroom, then I think there will be an impetus there for the Government and other statutory funders to think, "This is an area which we should be funding." In that sense, we will be judged on our results. These are all areas which ultimately could be funded by the Government.

  511. Could I move to NESTA, which is also a responsibility.
  (Mr Dunmore) No, it is not.

  512. Not for you?
  (Mr Dunmore) No.

  Derek Wyatt: I beg your pardon. I thought it came under the New Opportunities Fund. I am ignorant.


  513. That is a problem, is it not? You say in your memorandum to us that you are proud of your work and, indeed, the list of things that you have done is impressive. On the other hand, whereas the other areas of the Lottery funding are very precise and clear, it seems to me that among the public at large, including those who might apply to you for grants, there is not a clear grasp of what you do and what you are for. That it is rather amorphous and nebulous. The actual results of what you are doing are far from amorphous and nebulous. Nevertheless, it may well be that people who might be eligible for grants from you may not come forward because they are not as clear about what you are doing as they are with the other Lottery grant organisations.
  (Mr Dunmore) There may be an element of that, in the fact that we are still relatively new compared with the other distributors. People were very familiar with them. They are less familiar with us. We have put a great deal of effort into publicising the programmes that we fund. I mentioned our web site previously. I know that web sites do not reach all the parts but we have also consulted very widely on our first round of programmes and we have regional seminars, which went down to quite a grass roots level, consulting about our programmes. We have been building relations with a whole range of partners and bodies, including the voluntary sector umbrellas, like the CVS. It is still fair to say—and it does not surprise me particularly—that recognition of us as a distributor, according to polls which have been taken, is still quite low compared with some of the other distributors who have been around for longer.
  (Ms Potter) There is an inherent challenge in this. We have very clear programmes. Amongst our target groups, and potential applicants for the programmes, there is a fairly high level of understanding. That is showing itself, in some of our programmes, in exceptionally high success rates. The breadth of what we are funding does present us with an overall challenge as an organisation. What we have tried to do is to concentrate very hard on getting messages out about Lottery funding. Going into local communities and being accessible. Perhaps some of the reasons why we were set up was about the perception that there was not the funding going into smaller local community groups or going to benefit communities, so we have been trying to concentrate on that. The point Stephen made about the fact that we are still relatively new did present us with a challenge, and the fact that there is a general level of confusion about Lottery distribution more widely.

  514. But the others: Sport, Arts, Heritage, Charities, Millennium, they are very clear indeed. Everybody can classify those. If you were to have been asked whether you should be called the New Opportunities Fund, could you come up with a clearer name because, in a sense, it means everything and nothing, does it not?
  (Mr Dunmore) Yes. It is not a particularly helpful name in terms of getting our messages across to the various constituencies out there. But may I add, building on what my colleague said, that our programmes are indeed very specific. So for the people who are involved in those areas—for example, out of school hours childcare—they all know about us. There is no doubt about that. There is a very large childcare constituency out there. So we are getting our messages across to the people who need to put in applications to us for each of our programmes. It is perhaps also worth saying that I recognise what you say about confusion between distributors. We are working very hard with the other distributors to try and improve that situation. We are, for example, going to launch in the new year between all the distributors—at least the London-based distributors and perhaps from some of the other countries as well—a joint web site so that people can come to one place on the web site and ask questions about what sort of funding would be most appropriate for them. Then we can take them through the process. We are also going to set up a joint telephone hotline with the same sort of effect.

  515. Will people have to visit your web site first? When you are talking about childcare, I think childcare is an extraordinarily valuable thing. There is an organisation in my constituency called Trinity House which, in fact, was very grateful for a grant from the Lottery Charities Board. It helped them enormously. They are very active and well-focused people but I do not know whether they would have known that they could come to you.
  (Mr Dunmore) Do they fund childcare schemes? Let me just say, in terms of child care, perhaps the infrastructure is there to a greater extent than with some of our other programmes because in terms of childcare DfEE is funding local childcare partnerships in each area. Now I would be very surprised if, given the breadth of those partnerships, that Trinity House were not aware of the childcare partnerships. They are meant to pull together all the different sources of funding for different types of childcare, whether it is out of school hours childcare or whether it is early years, or whatever it is. They are meant to produce a strategic plan for the provision in their area, which is one of the aspects we take particular account of when we are making decisions on how we distribute the childcare money.

Derek Wyatt

  516. I have been trying to persuade my Committee to change the way the Lottery might work. If there was more sympathy it might greatly impact on what you do. The principle is that 10 per cent of the total Lottery spending is constituency, which stays in the constituency and is able to be spent on out of school hours or on a cancer scanner or on anything that the local communities wanted. But what you are saying is that you have quite long-term commitments to funding, three to five years, and that any change to the Lottery would seriously disturb your thinking.
  (Mr Dunmore) I think my response to that—and I am sorry if it is not a very helpful one—is that clearly any changes of that kind to the way in which Lottery money is distributed, is a matter for Government and for Parliament.

  517. Sure, I understand.
  (Mr Dunmore) If decisions of that kind are taken, I think the Government would need to take account of the forecasts of Lottery income and the commitments which have already been built up by all of the distributors. Therefore, for a change of that kind, there would have to be a period of bringing that in, which might be over two or three years.

  518. Sure. On both your living centres and your clubs, have you targeted and said, "These are the areas that are most needed"? Do you go out proactively and say, "Please send us a bid because you are the sort of people who deserve to get it"? If you do, have you found it to be more or less successful? This is because my community has bid, and we are one of the poorest communities in the country, but we have not yet been successful.
  (Ms Potter) We have targeted slightly differently across our programmes. One thing is worth saying—and this is mentioned in our submission—that the Board's intention is to remain relatively small and strategic. We do not necessarily imagine that we are a development organisation, so what we have tried to do very hard is to work with other organisations, who have expertise in fund-raising and working with communities. For example, on the out of school hours learning programme, we have worked very closely with Education Extra, who have been at the forefront of promoting out of school hours activities. They have done some very targeted seminars and workshops with us and have provided consultancy advice for some applicants. We have used a similar approach for the healthy living centre programme, although we have worked relatively closely with the regional co-ordinators in NHS regional offices as well to try to support that. We have used health networks to try and develop. We have stated targets for some of our programmes so, for example, for healthy living centres, we have priority areas. There is no guarantee that applicants from those areas will necessarily get funding but what we say is that we will be more likely to provide them with development funding between first and second stage if they are in those areas. Our panels have been flagged up and given priority. We have health action zones to help. Similarly, with our education programmes we would use Education Action Zones. As part of our mechanism for developing our targeting mechanisms, we consult fairly widely. Many of you will be familiar with the concerns about targeting in too tight a way. What we have tried to do is to give priority and emphasise that most of our programmes are intended to have a more positive benefit on the most excluded communities but we are still very committed to ensuring that rural areas are not excluded. They are one of the areas where people always raise concerns over targeting.

Mr Keen

  519. Derek Wyatt has very kindly asked all the questions I was going to ask but the answers we have got back have not convinced me that there is not a problem. The Chairman put it to you that the New Opportunities Fund was not a helpful name. To me it is a wonderful name. A new opportunity for the Government to fund health and education without having to do it through the taxation system. It is very worrying. It is easy to justify by asking the public, "Do you think that Lottery funding should be used for letting toffs go to the Royal Opera House?" or to fund health centres, because we know they are going to answer every time, "No, it should be used for the health service and education"; it is easy for Government to justify this change in policy by saying, "We listen to the public." But coming back to you again—it is no criticism of you because you are trying to carry out policy—but you have some flexibility because, as you have said, you are able to say to applicants, "No, I am afraid that sounds like additionality to me." But what connections and what links do you have, back up to Government about policy? Do you find that where you are concerned, (if it is maybe additionality in general terms), do the Government listen to you on it, or do you feel it is not your job to go back to them?
  (Mr Dunmore) This would apply to all the distributing bodies but perhaps more so to us, but we are in very regular contact with Government at a ministerial level and official level. Certainly a particular period, when we do have those contacts, is when we are developing new initiatives. So at the present time, when the Government is consulting on a possible range of new initiatives for us, we do have the opportunity to feed back comments into the Government on what is being proposed. It is not for us to say to the Government, "We think it is a jolly good idea," or, "This is a bad idea," in terms of particular initiatives, but what we can do is feed in comments on the process. For example, you may have spotted—and I think it is in the consultation document—there is still a reference to the possibility of our being able to allocate funding rather than doing it by competitive bidding, which really goes back to some of the things I was saying about a strategic view and effective targeting on particular communities. That is partly as a result of the discussions we have had with Government about methodology. Indeed, from time to time, in terms of particular programmes that are proposed, we might have a discussion with Government about some particular problems that we might see politically or presentationally in terms of additionality. So all of those things are discussed.

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