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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Ministers commit to earlier funding arrangement announcements for third sector


Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP made the announcement in response to questioning

The Scottish Government has announced that third sector organisations will be notified of funding decisions no later than the end of March for the next financial year. 

Ministers confirmed this month that voluntary groups would be told of funding arrangements “as soon as is practicably possible” going forward. 

The move comes after campaigning from the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), who have argued for early notification of funding decisions for voluntary groups and charities. 

In a written question submitted at Holyrood, Labour MSP Colin Smyth wrote to cabinet secretary for communities, social security and qualities, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, to ask the government “what action it is taking to ensure that its funding decisions regarding support for the voluntary sector are issued no later than December, and that any funds are paid no later than the start of the tax year in April”.

In its response, the Scottish Government wrote: “In the 2023-24 Programme for Government we have committed, as part of developing an approach to fairer funding for the third sector, to deliver improvements in grant-making arrangements, including providing greater clarity and consistency of practice.

“We understand that organisations need timely grant decisions and payments in order to reduce financial uncertainty and effectively resource delivery.

“In line with the commitment given by the first minister, we are working, within the context of the Scottish Budget process, to issue notifications of funding arrangements to third sector organisations, as soon as is practicably possible and no later than end of March for funding beginning on 1 April.”

The Scottish Government also reiterated its commitment to "increasing multi-year funding", with Ms Somerville also writing: "The first minister has committed to increasing the number of two-year grants in the forthcoming budget, and longer where possible."

The announcement was welcomed by those representing the third sector, who urged the government to continue this work and follow Fair Funding proposals outlined by SCVO. 

SCVO chief executive, Anna Fowlie, said: “I am pleased to see the Scottish Government’s response to Colin Smyth MSP’s parliamentary question about timely decision-making on funding for voluntary organisations. 

“It is one important element of SCVO’s call for Fair Funding for the sector. Too often, decisions are made and communicated very late in the day, even into the new financial year, which leaves staff at risk of redundancy and vital services at risk of closure.  

“Given the financial constraints the Scottish Government is under and the lateness of this year’s budget, I remain to be convinced that the government will be able to deliver on this commitment, but I hope to be proved wrong.”



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