Mixed response for Big Lottery Fund’s new strategic framework
Third Sector, by Daniel Lombard
Social investment should not be part of the Big Lottery Fund’s role, according to Jay Kennedy, head of policy at the Directory of Social Change.
The BLF’s updated strategy framework for 2012 to 2015, Fresh Thinking – the next chapter, pledges to support the development of social investment.
"Their focus should remain on being a grant-maker – and working to improve and share best practice in grant-making," said Kennedy.
He said that the commitment to build partnerships with the private sector, which is also contained in the new framework, "reads like a government policy".
However, the new strategy was welcomed by local infrastructure group Navca, whose chief executive Joe Irvin said the BLF "is right to make people and communities in greatest need their top priority".
He added: "What really pleases Navca is that building stronger organisations has been made a key priority."
But Irvin did express fears about the implications of the 5 per cent cap that has been imposed on the BLF’s administration costs. "We would be deeply concerned if the reduction in admin costs reduced its ability to continue its exemplary approach in supporting bids from across the sector," said Irvin.
Peter Wanless, the BLF’s chief executive, acknowledged that the 5 per cent target was "challenging" but changes in governance arrangements, such as holding fewer board meetings, and a new IT system would help to achieve it.
Wanless said the organisation would act as a broker for charities – particularly small to medium-sized bodies – and private companies. "It’s not about us saying to charities ‘you should work with the private sector’; it’s about orchestrating those partnerships for those who want to make it happen," he said.