Bureaucracy Project – Launch of the Code of Practice
Reports from the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) in 2010 and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2012, identified disproportionate bureaucracy in the administration of grant funding as one of the key issues impacting negatively on relationships between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector. The Department for Social Development Permanent Secretary established a cross-departmental Addressing Bureaucracy Project (of which NICVA is part of) to explore options and bring forward recommendations to address this issue.
Two key products have been produced as a result of the work conducted by the Project Team;
- The Code of Practice for Reducing Bureaucracy in Grant Funding to the Voluntary and Community Sector which has been developed with input from all Departments, the NIAO, NICVA and a representative from the Councils; and
- The associated Financial Systems and Controls Assessment of Voluntary and Community Organisations (FSCA) which introduces a common risk based approach underpinning the financial verification aspects of the Code, to help streamline and align funders’ procedures, achieve greater consistency and reduce duplication of effort.
The Code of Practice will be applicable to all central government funders involved in providing revenue grants to Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations and is geared to reduce the administrative burden associated with grant funding, allowing for a greater focus on the deliverables/outcomes to be achieved by the project. Application of the new Code of Practice will be monitored via the Joint Forum and reported on in the Concordat Annual Report.
Voluntary and Community Organisations will need to ensure that their policies and procedures are up to date, fit for purpose and regularly reviewed and that they have robust financial systems and procedures to enable them to avail of the benefits which it is hoped will flow from the implementation of the Code of Practice.
It is anticipated that some of the key benefits which will accrue from the application of the Code of Practice include:
- a more proportionate approach to funding is taken based on an assessment of risk;
- a more collaborative approach is employed where funders join up their processes where it is appropriate and beneficial to do so; and
- a more timely approach is adopted leading to earlier funding decisions and speedier payments.
For more information on the Bureaucracy Project or these changes contact Una McKernan on 028 9087 7777 or email [email protected].