Further information on the National Council for Voluntary Organisation’s (NCVO) surprise decision close its Funding Central service, which is likely to result in additional costs to smaller charities, and wind down its quality assurance programme, as part of its new strategy.
Funding Central will close on Wednesday 31 March 2021, although NCVO is directing charities to other similar services. The Trusted Charity programme will be wound down over the course of this year and finish in March 2022.
The decision to close the Funding Central and Trusted Charity programme is driven by a need for the NCVO to make savings.
Like many charities, NCVO’s income has been hit by the pandemic and is projecting a £1.3m deficit in each of the next three years. Its chief executive, Karl Wilding, and two other senior leaders are leaving this year. Overall, the number of staff has reduced from 105 to 87.
Funding Central was a resource which let organisations search for information about grants, social investment and other funding opportunities.
It is free for organisations with an income of under £100,000, while larger organisations paid £120 plus VAT for an annual subscription.
The platform has 12,000 free users, 900 organisation subscriptions and 200 individual subscribers.
Those who have lapsed subscriptions can continue to access the service until it closes for £20.
NCVO is redirecting users to alternative services, including one from Idox which is offering free access for charities with incomes under £30,000. It estimates that about half the current free users will be able to take this up.
The Trusted Charity programme
There are currently 500 subscribers to Trusted Charity Online, NCVO’s self-assessment tool that helps charities understand what they do and where they can improve.
Charities that complete the online assessment can move on to an external assessment and accreditation to be awarded the Trusted Charity Mark.
It was originally called PQAASSO (Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations) until last year when it was renamed.
There are currently 500 Trusted Charity Online subscribers. 162 organisations have achieved the mark and 60 are working towards it.
Once it has been awarded the mark is valid for three years. The cost of self-assessment and external accreditation was linked to the number of full-time employees. Self-assessment cost between £50 and £250, while the external accreditation cost between £2,000 and £11,000.
Source: Civil Society News