Umbrella body the NCVO is urging charities and community groups to shake off "consultation inertia" and respond to the Big Lottery Fund's request for feedback on its funding programmes.
The Big Lottery Fund, the new lottery funding body created out of the merger of the New Opportunities Fund and the Community Fund, has launched a consultation inviting interested parties to say which worthy projects should receive lottery money and how the fund should distribute money.
"After the recent debacle, where the DCMS only consulted with the voluntary sector about the proposed merger of the two lottery funding bodies after it had happened, we'd be surprised if many charities and community groups weren't sceptical of the new consultation," said Helen Bush, lottery policy officer at the NCVO.
But she said that sector participation in the new consultation process was vital following the news that its first funding programme, the £200m Young People's Fund, is to be spent on a range of government initiatives.
"We've already pointed out that allocation for government-inspired programmes is just New Opportunities Fund funding by another name," said Bush. "We'll be following the progress of the Big Lottery Fund and the consultation process very carefully to ensure that the lottery remains independent."