Clause 14 - Functions

Part of National Lottery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:45 pm on 25th October 2005.

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Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport 6:45 pm, 25th October 2005

I remind the hon. Gentleman that the Millennium Commission will also be feeding into the process, bringing a lot of expertise. Our 2003 national lottery funding decision document, as the hon. Member for Bath says, set out a number of areas of joint working between lottery distributors in which it was appropriate for the Big Lottery Fund to take the lead. That included handling cross-cutting issues. New section 36D will allow the Big Lottery Fund to take the role of lead distributor by allowing it to give advice beyond its own functions. For example, potential applicants are not always sure to which distributor or programme they should apply. Many of us have found that to be the case in our constituencies. The Bill will allow the BLF to take the lead in providing a single point of advice for new applicants who are unsure where they should seek advice or guidance or to which distributor they should apply. We hope that this is more user-friendly and that it will be easier for people to apply for lottery money, thereby ensuring that it goes to good cause projects more quickly.

The Big Lottery Fund will be able to take a lead in developing common standards such as applications and complaints procedures. It will reduce administrative costs for all lottery distributors and ensure that more money goes to good causes. It will be able to share best practice, particularly as the successor to the Millennium Commission, to which I referred earlier, and to become a centre of excellence, advice and expertise for the management of major capital projects, for which there is great capacity. We want to encourage innovative advice on the best management of projects, particularly capital projects. Although distributors can and do work well together, someone needs to take a lead as a centre of excellence, and we believe that the Big Lottery Fund is best placed to do so.

The amendments would prevent the Big Lottery Fund from taking such a leading role by limiting its power to giving advice to its own functions, a role that it will have in any case.