Policy, Government and the Voluntary Sector

July Policy Update

Here's what's been going on in the world of policy over the past month.

Here’s your monthly round-up of news from around the charity sector. This month’s highlights include information on a new opportunity to receive funding from the Government, a vital report signifying local authority funding streams and an initiative that seeks to tackle racism in the sector. Take a look!  

Local authorities spend in the region of £600 million on grants to VSCE organisations annually 

It’s well known that grant funding helps to deliver better outcomes for people and communities – especially when supporting smaller charities and community groups. However, it has been under pressure over recent decades because of cuts to local authority budgets and the drive to use contracts when commissioning services. For this reason, DSC is spearheading the Grants for Good campaign to understand and locate any current issues in local authority grant making.  

Underpinning this campaign is an extensive report by DSC’s Research team called Grants for Good: Exploring local authority grant-making to the VCSE sector. This new report provides the fullest picture to date of the current landscape for local authority grant making to the voluntary sector. The key findings include: 

  • Local authorities spend in the region of £600 million on grants to VSCE organisations annually  
  • Grant making to VSCE organisations appears to be on the rise  
  • Zero councils experienced legal challenges around their grant-making practices  
  • Most local authority grants are awarded via open processes    
  • Local authorities’ commitment to transparent data sharing could be improved  

The report is free to download, so take a look here. You can also find out more about the findings by reading our latest article by Rhiannon Doherty, DSC Senior Researcher, click here.  

£76 million Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund launched  

During the Spring Budget 2023, the Chancellor announced that £100 million worth of funding would be funnelled into the charity sector to support organisations experiencing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis. £76 million of this is now available in the form of the new Community Organisation Cost of Living Fund (CCLF), launched on Monday 24 July.  

Delivered in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund, the CCLF aims to support organisations across England to provide critical frontline services. Organisations can apply for funding to maintain or expand essential cost-of-living services until the end of March 2024.   

Applicants to CCLF must be:  

  • offering critical services to low-income households and individuals around at least one of food and emergency supplies, emergency shelter, safe spaces, warmth and financial or housing advice;   
  • able to demonstrate increased demand and increased costs for those critical services 
  • registered with the Charity Commission or an incorporated not-for-profit company;   
  • providing services to a local community in England – with a focus on small and medium organisations, although national organisations can apply where they can demonstrate local impact.  

You can apply for anything between £10,000 and £75,000. Find out more about the CCLF’s eligibility criteria here. reader 

New initiative intends to tackle racism in the voluntary sector  

In 2020, ACEVO and Voice4Change released a report called Home Truths: Undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector, platforming the experiences of 500 BAME people who work within the charity sector and proving that racism is a significant and unresolved issue in the charity sector just as it is in the rest of society.  

To continue their much-needed work to tackle racism in the sector, ACEVO and Voice4Change have launched Home Truths 2. Home Truths 2 is a new programme of work designed to challenge and support mainstream UK civil society to take serious practical action on anti-racism and race equity.  

Over the next 18 months, this joint initiative will engage stakeholders from across civil society, including senior leaders, staff and those working within and alongside civil society organisations in a targeted, practical programme of activity. So, get involved and find out what you and your organisation can do to tackle systemic racism. Learn more here.