Covid funding allocation for charities to be reviewed following MPs’ concerns

The government has agreed to most recommendations made by MP, who raised concerns earlier this year into how funding to support charities amid the Covid-19 pandemic was handed out.

In June MPs sitting on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published a report raising concerns around the government’s allocation of financial support for charities during the crisis.

This included concerns around fees paid to consultants to review applications, as well as evidence that £600,000 of emergency funding was identified as fraud.

Most recommendations made by MPs, around transparency in how the funding has been allocated, have been accepted by the government.

Ministers have agreed to present their findings to MPs within three months.

MPs' recommendation that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) “should ensure that it keeps appropriate records of decisions, including when this incorporates advice from special advisers” has been accepted by the government.

The government has also agreed to a recommendation that the DDCMS “should examine how the steps it took to ensure there was a clear distinction between impartial advice from civil servants and the political advice offered by special advisers. It should then write to us setting out the steps it took and the lessons it has learnt for future”.

Ministers have also agreed to detail the criteria the government will use to assess the impact of funding, as well as how it is monitoring the financial health and resilience of the charity sector and how charities are making use of pandemic support schemes.

MPs are also concerned the government is unable to “demonstrate that it fully understands the financial health and resilience of the charity sector or whether further government financial support will be necessary.

But MPs’ recommendation for ministers to “set out the triggers” that would prompt further funding, has been rejected by the government.

In its response the government said: “There is no single data source that can provide a definitive trigger for taking a decision on further financial support.

“The circumstances under which further support would be assessed must be based on a range of quantitative and qualitative sources, including intelligence on challenges facing critical sub-sectors.”

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