Big Lottery ‘Assist’ programme for infrastructure providers likely to be run by private sector?

Third Sector Online carries an interesting story today. It claims that an unnamed voluntary sector source has said that at least one private sector company has been shortlisted to administer a new Big Lottery programme called ‘Assist’, aimed at helping infrastructure providers to become more effective.

Third Sector Online’s source said this raised concerns about lottery money being used to help private sector companies sell services to the voluntary sector.

The fund was announced in December last year and although it was mentioned in the Big Lottery’s discussion paperBuilding capabilities for legacy and impact (currently out for consultation and you can can download BSSEC’s work-in-progress response here) there is still precious little info in circulation about this £6m fund. Building capabilities says only that the fund “will help local support providers become more effective with help from national experts and peer-to-peer support”.

If anyone has heard anything further about this please comment here or email me and I’ll try and build this story up a bit.

  1. David Lane Reply

    Hi Alun,
    Interesting isn’t it? However, I don’t think it is the first example of this. OCS some time back [2010 I think], announced a number of ‘grant administrators’ for funds, including Big, V, and a few others, but interestingly included PwC and Tribal Education [see this link http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/Finance/article/1036694/Office-Civil-Society-names-groups-administer-grant-funds/%5D.
    I believe also that Tribal Education are currently assessing bids for one of the grant funds. Imagine a consultancy firm assessing projects and business development ideas etc.. for Social Enterprises and VCOs and the data that they are likely to glean from such an exercise for ‘selling’ in some other business development services.
    I do however, need to balance this with a further question [to stimulate debate], is there that much of a difference, for example V could also sell in some additional services?
    Of course I’m on the side of if it’s an SE or VCO ‘selling’ in services, it’s not lining the pockets of individuals and is for social good, but it would be interesting to hear other’s views!
    Dave

  2. Alun Severn Reply

    Dave, Thanks for commenting. You’re right, it has happened before, and the question does have to be put: would private sector admin necessarily be a bad thing….?

    Personally, I think who administers the fund is less of an issue than (a) what it’s for, (b) its eligibility criteria and (c) what can be done with it.

    I just think it’s interesting that before any of this info is in the public domain it seems private sector companies are being lined up to manage the fund…

    A

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