Competition for hub funds ends with £4m grant to ICTgrouping

The Home Office has finally confirmed the destination of the funding for the controversial ICT hub, awarding all £4m to the NCVO-led ICT Consortium.

Rival coalition Citra, which was locked for several months in a bitter dispute with the ICT Consortium over who should be party to the hub, will not share in the grant. Although the two parties are standing by a deal they made in May that the ICT hub would assist smaller charities with their ICT needs while Citra would look after those with income of more than £1m, Citra will not receive any hub funding for this.

John Tate, chair of Citra, said it had decided to go its own way and not apply to be part of the hub's core group or its advisory panel, or to be a delivery partner. "Our plan is to be independently funded. We are talking to a number of people," he said.

The approval of the ICT hub takes the total sum awarded to the six ChangeUp hubs to £16.5m.

More money has been allocated to the ICT hub than any other: it will receive £4m over two years, whereas the other five hubs (performance improvement, workforce development, finance, governance and volunteering) will get £2.5m each.

A further £1.2m has been earmarked for a second ICT project, to run parallel to the hub. Net:gain is a collaboration between Ruralnet UK, the Foyer Federation, Funding Matters and Ufi, the body that administers the 6,000 UK Online centres and 1,400 learndirect centres. It will train voluntary organisations in the strategic use of ICT by means of workshops and online support delivered through UK Online centres. Fifty such centres will be upgraded to Net:gain centres under the project.

A Home Office spokeswoman said funding for improving the sector's use of ICT had been ringfenced early in the development of ChangeUp. The ICT hub is now the only one of the six not to have published its full business plan.

- See News Analysis, page 10

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