Cabinet Office decision is contained in new policy directions that say funding will go 'primarily' to projects run by the voluntary and community sector and social enterprises
A number of charities, including the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, had called for all BLF funds to be awarded to the voluntary sector when draft policy directions were published in August last year. The sector currently receives 90 per cent of BLF funds.
But the new directions say funding will go "primarily" to projects delivered by the voluntary and community sector and social enterprises.
In its summary of responses to the consultation on the draft directions, the Cabinet Office says: "Including the word ‘exclusively’… would rule out projects that benefit communities served by the voluntary and community sector."
The consultation generated 180 responses – most focused on the amount of funding the BLF should allocate to the voluntary sector, its continued independence from government and the BLF supporting the social investment mark.
Joe Irvin, chief executive of local infrastructure umbrella body Navca, said in a statement: "We have argued vigorously that all Big Lottery funds should go to charitable, voluntary and community causes. We will continue to do so."
The policy directions also list "additionality and complementarity" as one of the principles the BLF should consider when distributing money.
They say: "The development of programmes and funding of projects should complement, add value and be distinct from the work of other funders and parties working towards the fund’s goals."
It is only in the summary of responses document that reference is made to lottery funding being distinct specifically from government funding.
Jay Kennedy, head of policy at the Directory of Social Change, said the government could have been more explicit about the distinctiveness of lottery funding.
"The responses document seems to illustrate this and reflect what people said, but in the revised policy directions they have simply dropped the term ‘government’ in the phrasing compared with the draft," he said. "I don’t think this clarifies the position."
A spokeswoman for the NCVO said all of the things it had highlighted in the consultation had been picked up by the government and justified or amended. "It's really positive that they have provided further clarification on the additionality point," she said.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the BLF, said the new directions were a "vast improvement" on the previous ones. "These are clearer and cleaner and give space to do good stuff," he said. "I’m feeling a great sense of relief."
Asked about the wording of the additionality policy direction, Wanless said he thought the government should be judged on its actions rather than its words.
"I think it’s really important and right that people make a fuss about additionality and everyone stays honest," he said. "None of their actions have led me to be paranoid, but it’s one of those things we need to remain eternally vigilant about."