The National Lottery Charities Board has been urged to step in with accounting and management help for small groups that may have difficulty preparing and administering projects.
The call came from the Public Accounts Committee amid concern some projects may be losing out while in others lack of supervision has resulted in projects failing to proceed as planned – and ten cases of fraud.
In the case of one adventure playground project, £16,000 of lottery grant money was used to pay off an Inland Revenue debt, resulting in the entire outstanding grant being withdrawn and a refund demanded.
MPs put it to the board ‘that some groups come from deprived areas and cannot afford to use an accountant or solicitor’.
But the board claimed a survey showed that while there was a potential barrier, their application forms were manageable.
The committee said the scale of grant giving meant any shortfall in performance put very large sums at risk and estimated that out of grant awards totalling £460m, between £65m and £145m ‘could have been given to projects which were not delivering the intended level of service or activity at the time of the NAO examination.’
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