Find out more about the evidence we ask for with your application to show us that your group is set up properly and follows good practice in the way that it works
Your group must have a constitution or set of rules to apply for our funding. This document will typically show what the aims of the group are, the group’s powers, who can be a member, how the management committee and officers are elected and their term of office, the roles of the different officers of the group (e.g. Treasurer, Chair, Secretary), how frequently the management committee meets, the arrangements for an Annual General Meeting, how finances are managed, how any amendments can be made to the group’s constitution and what happens to the group’s assets if it stops operating (a dissolution clause). This clause should show that any assets remaining after the settlement of debts are transferred to an organisation with similar charitable purposes and not distributed among members.
Your group must have a management committee in place with a minimum of 3 unconnected persons – typically taking the roles of Chair, treasurer and secretary. By unconnected, we mean not a relation by blood, marriage, in a long-term relationship or people living together at the same address. A minimum of 2 unconnected persons from the management committee should have responsibility for authorising payments from the group’s account – this is a standard measure to reduce the risk of fraud, and a requirement of most funders.
If your group uses online banking it is still expected that there will be dual authorisation needed on transactions – the Charity Commission offers guidance on Internal Financial Controls on their website at http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/detailed-guidance/money-and-accounts/internal-financial-controls-for-charities-cc8/ which covers online banking and other financial management matters.
We understand that certain projects target particular groups of people, for example youth groups and day care centres. We expect our grants to benefit all of the people in your community who might want to use the services or activities your group provides. An equal opportunities policy or statement will show us that your group treats all members and potential members fairly. It will set out how people get to be members of your group and gain access to the opportunities and services you offer, and will contain a clear anti-discriminatory statement. If you employ staff or volunteers, equal opportunities will also cover recruitment, selection, employment and training.
Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults
It is vitally important that all groups working directly with children and/or vulnerable adults have a policy outlining what steps will be taken to safeguard these persons while in your care. This document should be regularly reviewed and made available for all staff, volunteers and beneficiaries to ensure they are aware of what to do in the event of concerns arising. Your group should have a named person to ensure that the policy is implemented should any issues arise.
If you need advice on developing a policy, contact the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board’s Safer Programme which can offer help with making sure your policies are appropriate, and provide training for staff/ volunteers – https://www.norfolklscb.org/people-working-with-children/safer-programme/
DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks have replaced CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks. These checks are required for anyone who will be in contact with children or vulnerable adults as part of their role.
For groups that have been operating for over 12 months, the most recent annual accounts should be provided. We don’t want to see a list of every transaction, just a simple summary of income and expenditure under relevant headings – for example, venue hire, transport, raffle tickets etc.
Annual accounts should also show your group’s free reserves (or savings). Free reserves will normally exclude tangible fixed assets such as land, buildings and other assets held for the charity’s use. They also exclude amounts set aside for essential future spending. For example you may have £10,000 in a savings account which has been saved towards a planned project or expected repair. These funds would not be free reserves.
The amount held in free reserves should reflect the particular circumstances and needs of your group – you may have a reserves policy which explains your position. If your group has significant free reserves, it may be given lower priority for funding.
We ask to see a copy of a bank statement from within the last three months for your group’s account to verify the banking details that we will use to pay your grant, if your application is successful. If your organisation is new, a letter from the bank confirming these details will be accepted.
If we have any queries about your organisation, or your group is applying for the first time, we may ask for a reference to help us fully understand your work.
Your referee should be someone from the local community who knows your organisation and the work you do. They should not be associated with your organisation as a member, employee, volunteer, management committee member or have any other personal connection. A suitable person might be a local councillor, community or support worker/professional, or a representative from an organisation your group has worked closely with.
Do we need to send these documents with every application?
If we already hold copies of your governing documents from other applications made within the last 12 months, there is no need to send further copies of these documents unless any changes have been made. We will ask to see new annual accounts when they become available. We will still need a copy of a recent bank statement to verify your payment details. We may ask to see updated copies of your policies at intervals to ensure we have current copies on file – it is good practice to regularly review your policies and include a date for next review.
If you’re unsure what you need to send, please contact the Grants Team.
Your group is also expected to have appropriate insurance in place – you may need to seek independent professional advice on what is required. Although we may not require evidence of this with your application, it is a condition of our funding.
Help us go paperless
You are able to attach as many documents as you like to the online application form, so if you have electronic copies of your supporting evidence we’d appreciate it.