Guidelines issued to grant applicants

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The Independent Online

When charities apply to the National Lottery Charities Board for grants, they are asked to bear firmly in mind the criteria that the board's assessors will use when considering awards.

According to the board's guidelines issued to applicants, assessment criteria fall into four categories - policy, potential achievements, management and long-term viability.

First, applicants are asked to consider whether their initiatives fit with the board's policy priorities. The initial round of handouts now and in December will concentrate on schemes tackling poverty. Next spring, for example, the emphasis will shift to health, disability and care charities, as well as British charities working abroad.

Board assessors will then evaluate the degree to which the charity's proposed activity: involve users and beneficiaries in its development and management, encourages community participation, and fosters self-help or improvement. The board also considers how well planned the proposal is. Applicants must demonstrate that any scheme is well-managed and financially sound, well-planned and staffed appropriately, cost-effective and good value for money, committed to equal opportunities, and able to involve volunteers effectively.

Finally, assessors may cases examine other factors which affect the long-term success of a scheme. They may, for example, consider: the presence of strategic and innovative thinking - does the activity reflect new ways of thinking about existing problems; whether there will be sustainable benefit to people or communities who participate; the potential of the activity to be seen as a pilot or model of good practice, or the likelihood of the activity continuing once funding ends.

If successful, applicants will then be monitored in two main ways. First, the board will require progress reports from organisations. Second, it will make random spot checks or request additional, detailed information to ensure that the money is being spent appropriately.