Spending watchdog will investigate
An investigation into how the UK government distributed cash to the third sector during covid has been launched.
The National Audit Office will examine how England’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport distributed some £750m in emergency funding provided to help the sector through the coronavirus crisis.
Charities said the amount was nowhere near enough while many criticised the length of time it took before support was announced.
The application process has also been criticised for taking too long.
On 20 May the DCMS said it was working across government to direct funds to voluntary sector organisations and “stressed the urgency to distribute funds quickly and prioritise those charities most in need”, the NAO said.
The National Lottery Community Fund began accepting applications for the first £200m of the £310m it had been allocated on 22 May.
The NAO’s report, which is due to be published in the spring, will examine the DCMS’ objectives for the emergency funding, and how the department has distributed the money and worked with other government departments and public bodies to do so.
Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the publishing and training charity the Director of Social Change, said: “It’s part of a wider piece of work the NAO is doing about the government’s response generally, but we’re very pleased that our sector has got its attention and is felt to be worthy of the work,” she said.
“Any investigation should highlight what the government has done well, as well as what it hasn’t.”