Voluntary organisations with incomes between £50,000 and £10m are likely to be eligible for grants from the new £100m Transition Fund announced in the spending review, according to Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society.
He told Third Sector that the criteria were still being finalised, but would be directed to helping organisations that had good prospects of delivering public services but were under financial pressure and had low reserves.
Five partners were being assessed to help deliver the fund, he said, including the Big Lottery Fund and the Community Development Foundation, which is to cease being a quango and continue to operate as charity.
Hurd confirmed that the budget for the Office for Civil Society would be £470m over the four years covered by the review. It had not yet been decided how much of this would go to the National Citizen Service, the Community First fund and the match-funding of donations to local endowments.
"This sum is a victory for the Cabinet Office in the sense that there is very little money around," he said. "We’ve received support from the very highest levels of government.
"I hope it’s seen as a positive reflection of the fact that the government attaches a great deal of importance to the voluntary and community sector, not least in engaging with the big society agenda and scaling up for a bigger part in public services."
He declined to compare the budget with the £500m announced by the last government for the three years from 2008 to 2011. "The game has moved on from judging things by the size of the budget of the OCS," Hurd said. "We are looking at a much bigger picture in terms of the whole big society agenda."