Finance: Nationwide recruits consultant to evaluate grants

Helen Warrell

The Nationwide Building Society's charitable foundation has commissioned a management consultant to evaluate how well its grant recipients make use of their funding.

The Nationwide Foundation has agreed a £300,000 contract with Rocket Science, a management consultancy specialising in community development, to conduct the research for four and a half years.

Rocket Science will focus on grants of £150,000 awarded to 18 charities that work with victims of domestic violence, families of those in prison and young offenders. Six charities representing each beneficiary group will also share a £250,000 grant for joint projects.

"We have got to make the most of our grant-making money," said Lisa Parker, chief executive of the Nationwide Foundation. "We are a registered charity, so we are accountable and should be trying to be as transparent as possible.

A grant pool of £2m from Nationwide Building Society can end up being spread quite thinly.

"We need to find ways of evaluating grants so they can be used most effectively."

Andrew Carter, director of Rocket Science, said he had been impressed by the foundation's outlook. "The approach that the foundation is looking to put in place is progressive and forward-looking," he said.

"Nationwide has got us in at the start, rather than bringing us in at the end of the scheme, so our work is part of the current grant-making programme."

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