DCMS launches £900,000 Fund to help charities secure government contracts

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is inviting charities to bid for £900,000 in funding to help improve their chances of taking part in public service procurement.

The funding has been made available to tackle a lack of charity sector involvement in government procurement.

While more than three quarters of charities deliver public services where they are based, they account for just 5% of government contract spending, according to the DCMS.

“Their expertise and connection to local areas ideally place them to create responsive, efficient and trusted public services,” it added.

It is hoped the VCSE Contract Readiness Fund will enable charities to better compete with providers from other sectors for government work.

The money is to be awarded over the next three financial years, with up to £200,000 available in 2022/23, up to £350,000 the following year and another £350,000 available in 2024/25.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon, September 29 and successful applicants are expected to start using the grants from mid-December.

Charities can apply as a consortium, but only one lead organisation need apply.

The aim is to fund investment in training and support networks, improve awareness of upcoming tenders for government work and also t made it easier for charities to promote their work to public service commissioners.

It is also aimed at helping charities to improve their evidence gathering of what initiatives work.

The fund follows on from 2012 public services legislation aimed at diversifying the range of suppliers of government contracts and secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits from work carried out.

Funding can be spent on staff salaries, project running costs and overheads, as well as organisational development.

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