Debate: Will a cap on lottery administration costs result in fewer, larger grants?

UK lottery distributors will be required to cut the amount they spend on admin to 5 per cent of their total income

PETER WANLESS - chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund

Peter WanlessWhen awards are subject to the scrutiny associated with lottery cash, and when you are as determined as we are to see those awards make an impact, it is cheaper, in terms of administration, to make a small number of big awards than lots of small ones.

However, small grants can give quick access to cash that can make an immediate difference on the issues that matter most to local people.

We want this sort of funding to remain part of what we do, so we will simplify processes and streamline our systems ahead of increasing award sizes.

RALPH MICHELL - head of policy at Acevo

Ralph MichellEveryone wants the administration of grants to be as efficient as possible, but to give out a large number of small grants and support to small organisations will necessarily cost more.

If this reform prevents a number of small organisations from working with lottery fund deliverers, that would be at odds with the government's stated commitment to support small organisations in the sector.

We are also worried about setting arbitrary figures for overheads. Transparency and a drive to increase efficiency in grant giving are to be welcomed: arbitrary thresholds are not.

JAY KENNEDY - head of policy at the Directory of Social Change

Jay KennedyInvestment in administration can actually make grants more effective - by providing support and information for applicants and grant holders, for example. When it comes to allocating and presenting costs, there are plenty of ways to skin a cat.

There will be a shifting of budgets, in which case the whole thing will be another pointless distraction.

The government should tackle the far greater failings of its own grant-making practices - such as the lack of investment in administration - rather than interfere with the way the lottery functions.

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