Memorandum submitted by the New Opportunities
1.1 This submission provides a brief introduction
to the New Opportunities Fund. Annex 1 describes our current grant
programmes and gives examples of projects that we have funded.
1.2 The New Opportunities Fund is a Lottery
Distribution Body created by the National Lottery Act 1998. It
was established to make grants to health, education and environment
projects under initiatives specified by the Government. Many of
our grant programmes focus particularly on those who are most
disadvantaged in society.
1.3 In its White Paper, The People's
Lottery and in the National Lottery Act 1998, the Government
made it clear that it wished to refocus Lottery funding on the
needs and concerns of local communities, to increase access to
funding and to ensure more equitable distribution. The creation
of the New Opportunities Fund reflected these priorities.
1.4 Our initiatives are proposed by the
Government and subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny.
They are then developed and delivered by the Fund. In this, the
Fund works closely with Government departments, devolved administrations,
regional bodies and other partners and providers to ensure that
we complement their work. Programmes have been developed in England,
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to meet each country's distinct
needs and are supported by specific members of the Fund's Board
and by offices in London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.
1.5 A recent MORI survey
has confirmed that the public supports the targeting of Lottery
funding on those areashealth, education and environmentin
which the Fund distributes grants. When asked to identify the
two or three most important areas for Lottery funding, out of
a list of 10, 69 per cent of respondents identified health, 55
per cent education and 26 per cent the environment.
2.1 The Fund is proud of its performance
over the first two years. It has established itself as a major
grant maker and developed innovative grant making practices. It
has enabled much needed educational, environmental and health
related initiatives, which would not otherwise be funded, to go
ahead. Over 2,000 grants have been awarded, many involving large
numbers of individual projects. Over £614 million has been
allocated to projects. The impact of these grants already includes
childcare schemes that will create more than 110,000 new childcare
places, training in the use of information and communication technologies
for over 160,000 teachers, new cancer equipment in hospitals and
new preventative health services for deprived communities.
2.2 Over the last two years, the Fund has
launched 13 grant programmes under six major initiatives. These
Healthy living centres (£300
million)grants to promote health and wellbeing for the
most disadvantaged 20 per cent of the UK's population, including
activities such as help with smoking cessation, supporting healthy
eating, promoting mental health and developing new ways of working
with primary care.
Out of school hours (£425
million)grants for out of school hours childcare projects
and out of school hours learning, including summer schools.
Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) training and content creation (£300
million)grants to fund appropriate training for all serving
teachers who need it; money is also allocated to train public
library staff and for the digitisation of learning materials.
Living with cancer (£150
million)grants available for the purchase of breast screening
equipment and other scanning and radio-therapy equipment, and
for palliative care and cancer prevention projects, particularly
in areas of disadvantage.
Green spaces and sustainable communities
(£125 million)grants to help communities understand,
improve and care for their natural and living environment.
Community access to lifelong learning
(£200 million)grants for projects designed to
support the development of ICT access to information and lifelong
More details of these programmes are provided
in Annex 1.
2.3 By 2003 we expect to have approved grants
worth £1.5 billion under these six initiatives. We are looking
forward to developing a new (third) round of initiatives, on which
the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and devolved administrations
will be consulting in the Autumn.
3.1 The New Opportunities Fund has made
a significant contribution to the distribution of Lottery money.
This arises from our particular focus on health, education and
environmental projects. Equally importantly, our contribution
stems from our approach to grant making. As a new Lottery Distributor,
the Fund has been able to build on the experience and best practice
of our fellow distributors. We have also put considerable energy
and resources into developing grant making which seeks to ever
better reflect the wishes of Parliament and the Government, the
nature of the sectors we work in, and the expectations of the
3.2 The Fund is committed to working in
partnership to support projects which:
improve the quality of life for individuals
promote social inclusion;
encourage community involvement;
complement and enhance relevant national,
regional and local strategies and programmes.
3.3 All our grant making programmes have
been developed to achieve these aims.
Inclusion and Equity
3.4 In order to promote social inclusion
and tackle disadvantage, we expect all applicants to explain how
their project will target socially excluded communities and groups.
For our competitive grant programmes, we have identified areas
where levels of deprivation are significant and where funding
should be targeted. For example, in the out of school hours learning
programme, half of our funding is targeted at schools in the most
disadvantaged areas (based on the levels of free school meals).
Elements of our living with cancer programme in England are focused
on the particular needs of ethnic minority communities.
3.5 We are committed to avoiding discrimination
in our grant making and within our organisation. We are developing
an annual equality report and are establishing an equality forum
to advise and comment on our grant making processes.
3.6 We closely monitor the distribution
of our funding among regions and local authorities and work to
ensure that all areas benefit. We ensure that funding is distributed
equitably across the four UK countries.
Working in Partnership, Working Strategically
3.7 We believe that our funding will be
more effective and projects more sustainable when organisations
from across the voluntary, public and private sectors work together.
Partnership working can also ensure that we make the best use
of good practice and expertise. For example, in our out of school
hours childcare programme we encourage applications from consortia
of providers in order to ensure that childcare provision is expanded
strategically across areas. All bidders must discuss their applications
with local childcare partnerships, which also have a key role
in auditing childcare needs, advising on priorities and supporting
3.8 The Fund applies the partnership approach
to its own programme development and management. We have a strong
commitment to consultation. In the past two years we have held
over 200 consultation events involving organisations from all
sectors and parts of the United Kingdom. We ensure that we work
strategically, complementing existing local and central government
strategies and drawing on the experience of public bodies.
the Fund has worked very closely
with Re:source (formerly the Library and Information Commission)
in developing ICT training for librarians, the digitisation of
learning materials and elements of the Community Access to Lifelong
grant assessors ask Health Authorities
and Local Authorities to comment on Healthy Living Centre applications;
we work with local regeneration partnerships
in England and Social Inclusion Partnerships in Scotland; and
we are building links with regional
bodies such as Regional Development Agencies and Regional Government
Offices to ensure that our grant making reflects regional priorities
3.9 We are also increasingly working in
partnership with other Lottery Distributors to pool expertise,
publicise programmes and improve accessibility for applicants.
For example, we have developed a joint publication with the National
Lottery Charities Board which will help applicants to decide which
is the most appropriate source of funding for them. We have helped
fund joint research into lottery support for former coalfield
areas. We regularly share best practice in grant giving, project
management and policy.
3.10 All funding from the National Lottery
is time limited and the sustainability of projects will always
be a key issue. We are responding by working with our grant holders
to help them plan for the long-term sustainability of their projects.
For example, we allow tapering funding (more funding in year one
than year five) and spending on fundraising to be built into proposals.
Encouraging strong partnerships and partnership funding also increases
the potential for sustainability.
3.11 In addition, we are developing extensive
evaluations of our programmes. If we can show that what we are
currently funding works, projects are more likely to attract support
in the future. Major evaluation contracts have been signed for
the out of school hours learning and childcare programmes. For
the healthy living centre initiative, we are in consultation with
relevant departments, with the intention of appointing evaluators
in the near future. We are working in partnership with Education
Inspectorates in each country and the National Foundation for
Educational Research to complete evaluations for the ICT and out
of school hours learning programmes.
Innovative and Open Grant Making
3.12 No organisation wants to waste time
and resources submitting detailed applications which are unlikely
to be successful. That is why the Fund focuses on clearly explaining
grant criteria, has worked to keep its application processes simple
and has used a two stage application process for a number of programmes.
This gives applicants an initial response on an outline idea before
detailed information is required. We also have an easy to contact
telephone advice service that responded to over 21,000 enquiries
3.13 The Fund has already met the majority
of recommendations in the report of DCMS's Quality, Efficiency
and Standards Team (QUEST) into the cost to applicants of making
Lottery bids. We plan to build further on QUEST's ideas, including
the development of our application forms and appeals procedures,
which are praised in the report.
3.14 We have pioneered new ways of making
grants, so that those organisations with the greatest expertise
make the grant decisions while the Fund ensures that strategic
objectives are met. In order to achieve this, we have tried new
ways of developing programmes. For example, we are delegating
the management and, in some cases, decision making to national
award partners under our green spaces and sustainable communities
programme. These include The Countryside Agency, The British Trust
for Conservation Volunteers and The Royal Society for Nature Conservation:
organisations with a strong track record of delivering sustainable,
community focused projects. In Scotland, decisions under this
programme have been fully delegated to the Scottish Land Fund.
Likewise, individual grant making under our out of school hours
childcare programme is administered by the National Lottery Charities
Board on our behalf.
3.15 The Fund has pursued such innovations
while maintaining low operating costs. In 1999-2000 our operating
costs represented only 4.5 per cent of the money we received from
the National Lottery Distribution Fund.
3.16 We have also placed considerable emphasis
on ensuring that our grant making is open and easy to understand.
For example, all unsuccessful applicants receive feedback on award
decisions, we publish the minutes of Board meetings and our corporate
plan and we have held an open Board meeting.
Communicating our Contribution
3.17 The Fund is very aware of its responsibility
to inform the public about how their Lottery money is spent and
the contribution that it makes to local and national life. All
grant awards are announced in press releases and accompanied by
detailed work with journalists, particularly from the regional
and local press. All awards are publicised on our web site and
we recently held a series of activity weeks around the United
Kingdom to highlight the work of the Fund. These included events
ranging from displays in shopping centres to briefings for professionals
in the sectors in which we work.
3.18 We believe that an important way in
which to raise Lottery awareness is to act together with other
Lottery Distributors. For example, we are committed to developing
a joint web site portal with the other Distributors and will consider
carefully QUEST's recommendation for a joint telephone hotline.
3.19 The Fund is also aware that the benefits
of our programmes will be multiplied by carefully evaluating our
projects and sharing best practice. That is why we put such emphasis
on widespread, robust research into which projects work and why.
For example, our evaluation of the out of school hours initiatives
will include detailed analysis of approximately 50 schemes across
4.1 We believe that our programmes and approach
to grant making bring a distinctive and important contribution
to the distribution of Lottery funding. The Fund has brought resources
to communities across the United Kingdom, particularly those in
greatest need. Our programmes have stimulated new ways of tackling
health, educational and environmental challenges and new partnerships
between voluntary, private and public organisations. We have developed
a strategic approach to the delivery of programmes, which complements
other funding streams and initiatives.
4.2 Over the next year, we will be launching
major new initiatives, investing heavily in the evaluation of
projects, sharing best practice, and working with other Distributors
to help support applicants and publicise the contribution made
by Lottery money.
1 MORI Survey 16/6/2000. Back