Emergency funding for the sector 'taking too long', says NCVO chief

Karl Wilding says the process of allocating some of the £750m of government support is 'bedevilled by delay and a lack of transparency'

Karl Wilding
Karl Wilding

The speed at which emergency funding is being made available to support charities during the coronavirus pandemic  is “not good enough”, the chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations has warned. 

In a blog post, Karl Wilding said he had “increasing concerns” at the pace at which some of the government’s £750 funding package, announced on 8 April, was taking to become available to those that needed it the most. 

He said it had been a “process bedevilled by delay and a lack of transparency” and called for clarity in how funds wouldw be distributed. 

“Of the £750m package, it remains unclear how roughly half of the £160m allocated for distribution via central government departments is to be spent,” he wrote. 

“I know that some charities in some areas have been asked by departments to bid for funding, while their counterparts have heard nothing. 

“This does nothing for confidence in how decisions are being made. The process needs to be simple and open.”

He added that the sector did not know when it would be able to apply for the £370m that had been earmarked for distribution by the National Lottery Community Fund. 

“Reassurances that funding will be made available soon are starting to wear thin,” he said. “I have told the government and the NLCF that this pace isn’t good enough."

Wilding’s thoughts echo those set out by Rachel Kirby-Rider, chief executive of the cancer charity Clic Sargent, in a piece for Third Sector last week. 

Wilding called for the government to publish an explanation of how the £160m in departmental funding had been allocated, along with how it planned to allocate the remaining funding.

The government should also set out the process and criteria each department will use to allocate the funding, said Wilding, and this should include an explanation of how they are taking equality considerations into account.

He also called for “immediate clarity” on how the £370m of funds being handled by the NLCF would be made available.

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