Big Lottery Fund plans to share data to help grant-making

Dawn Austwick, the BLF's new chief executive, says the move would make it more responsive to the needs of the sector

Dawn Austwick
Dawn Austwick

The Big Lottery Fund is to look into how it can share the data it holds on voluntary and community organisations with the wider sector, its new chief executive has said.

Dawn Austwick, who took over six days ago at the funder, which distributes £600m a year, spoke to journalists at a briefing this morning about using technology to harness the information the BLF holds to benefit and inform both its own grant-making and that of others.

She said the BLF had access to real-time data from the sector’s grass-roots organisations about what organisations were asking for in terms of money and needs through its Reaching Communities programme.

Austwick, whose previous role was as chief executive of the grant-maker the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, said this and information from the long-term evaluation of its programmes was "a resource that should be available to others to enrich our thinking and understanding of what is working".

The next steps would be to look at the technology and information infrastructure needed for such work, she said, and suggested that at its "most radical" this could take the form of open-source data.

Austwick said using and sharing data better would make the BLF more responsive and be of benefit to funders and charities working in similar areas.

Another of her interests, she said, was ensuring social capital was spread fairly around the country, because research showed it was unevenly distributed.

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