NHS England has published a guide to grants for the voluntary sector in its ‘bite-sized guide’ series. The guide “sets out the benefits and principles of providing grant funding for the voluntary and community (VCS) sector and suggests some Practical Steps commissioners can take to use grants in the most effective way to support local priorities”.
It has been published to help commissioners work with local and national voluntary organisations in responding to the needs of patients and the public and to tackling health inequalities.
Voluntary organisation in this case includes all charities and community interest groups, whether or not they pay staff or charge for services.
It was the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which Clinical Commissioning Groups the power to use grant funding to support voluntary and community organisations’ activities at national, regional and local levels, where they could provide services similar to or complementing those of the Groups.
The 18-page free download begins with a case study of how NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group invested £360,000 into local organisations’ projects, reaching an estimated 22,500 people.
Grant not contract
To be clear, this guide focuses on grants, not the purchase of services from charities through a NHS Standard Contract. “A grant agreement may not impose an obligation to provide services, but can require the grantee to use the money towards a particular project or service and set out other terms on which the grant is made”.
Core principles and advice
The guide sets out the core principles of grants from NHS England, followed by advice on the practical steps of selecting and making grants. This includes suggestions on how to develop an application form, in the absence of any standard form.
The guide is designed for NHS England Clinical Commissioning Groups, but should still be of use to fundraisers at relevant health and social care charities. For example it lists the NAVCA directory of support and development organisations as a useful resource for Groups to find relevant organisations.
A bite size guide to Grants for the Voluntary Sector is available at no charge as an interactive PDF.
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