These notes are for guidance only. They do not form part of any offer of assistance.
How We Assess Your Application
All bids are assessed by employing a three stage process using the Fund’s Assessment Team, its Finance and General Purposes Committee and finally the Fund’s Board of Directors. The process is outlined below. The core assessment criterion is that the event, programme, activity or service for which finance is sought, must provide support or benefits directly and solely to our clients. Where this criterion is not met, the application will not be considered further.
Each application must set out a rationale, evidence and information sufficient to justify the allocation of the resources sought.
Four Core Criteria
We will assess bid applications against the following four core criteria:
- Only NIPF clients must benefit directly and significantly from the proposed event/programme/activity or service.
- The event/programme/activity or service must provide physical or psychological support or social wellbeing benefits to NIPF clients in a way that is compatible with the NIPF’s mission to alleviate suffering and make a significant difference to the quality of its clients’ lives.
- The specific event/programme/activity or service must be something that is not currently available from or being provided by other bodies.
- The event/programme/activity or service would not be delivered to our clients without the provision of NIPF funding.
In the process those reviewing the application will also consider the mission and objectives of the applicant organisation and the extent to which they resonate with the undertaking in question and reflect the principles and interests of the Northern Ireland Police Fund.
There is no exhaustive list of events/programmes/activities or services which the NIPF is prepared to fund to support and enhance the quality of life of its clients. However, the NIPF will need to be persuaded that the benefits and quality of services provided could not be provided at lesser cost. The NIPF is particularly interested in those undertakings which provide particular benefit to its more vulnerable, fragile and isolated clients and those who are less able to access services and support, and those undertakings which demonstrate more robust and lasting impact on the quality of life issues.
Review of Application by the Assessment Team. The Assessment Team will consider the application to ensure that it is complete and that all required information has been provided. They will look for evidence that the qualifying criterion of NIPF client benefit is met. If the application fails to meet this criterion it will be rejected. The rejection letter will state the reason for rejection. It will be issued within 10 working days of a decision being taken. If any key information is absent, that is, information upon which an assessment should be made, then the application will be returned to the applicant for further consideration. It will be returned within 20 working days of receipt.
Where the application is complete and there is an evident benefit/support for eligible clients of the Fund, the Assessment Team will prepare a report for the Finance and General Purposes Committee.
The Report will:
- State that the key criterion has been demonstrated.
- Give a view as to the extent to which the other criteria have been met.
- Précis the Fund’s existing budget and existing competing demands
- Present an analysis of the figures provided by the applicant
- Give an opinion as to whether the bid appears to represent value for money
- Provide information as to whether the Fund has supported similar events in the past
The report will include an assessment of overall merit based on the above criteria. In addition, as the Fund encourages innovation, the Assessment Team will also consider whether the bid is novel in providing services and support in areas or ways not previously addressed.
Stage 2 Both your application and report by the Assessment Team are considered by the Fund’s Finance and General Purposes Committee. The Committee will consider this application and other applications against the Fund’s founding purposes, its current priority aims and objectives including budgetary constraints and by taking a wider strategic view.
The Committee will, in particular, analyse the financial information provided to consider whether value for money is demonstrated.
Stage 3 The Fund’s Board of Directors considers the recommendation from the Finance and General Purpose Committee. The Board is responsible for making a final decision.
Evaluation / Assessment Process
All successful applications must meet the core qualifying criterion absolutely. Other factors will form part of the Fund’s consideration. Thereafter the Fund will prioritise funding along the following lines:
- The Fund gives preference to those bids that demonstrate that they directly target the pressing physical or psychological needs of its clients.
- The Fund prioritises undertakings with an educational element ahead of those which are primarily social events.
- The Fund recognises the critical role of social events in tackling isolation and providing emotional and psychological support to a vulnerable and suffering group.
- The Fund appreciates the benefits of facilitating the development and maintenance of support networks and providing fora for discussion and sharing amongst its clients.
- The NIPF wishes to ensure that as many of its members and as diverse a range of its members as possible benefit from any organisational funding which it provides. Therefore the Fund will take into account the numbers benefitting and degree to which those proposed to benefit have benefitted from similar schemes in the past.
- The Fund will give preference to events that take place within Northern Ireland, whereby the proportion of overall costs required for travel and insurance are minimised.
Where the service focuses on quality of delivery then there needs to be evidence to show that the service is superior to others being delivered; that there is effective management ensuring this and that specific value is being added. Where the focus is on delivery at lower costs, then evidence of value and efficiencies should be provided.
Closing Dates for Applications
The closing date for applications is 30 June. This is a closing date and it is in the interests of organisations to bid as early as possible.
The Fund accepts that circumstances may arise which present an organisation with an unforeseen opportunity or need to provide an event or programme later in the financial/funding year. It further accepts that the details required for an application may not have been present prior to the 30 June closing date while the event or programme has such potential benefits for its clients as to warrant consideration. Therefore, the Fund provides for second bidding round for smaller events. The Fund will accept bids from 1 September until 31 October for bids which do not exceed £10,000.
The Fund WILL NOT accept major bids (i.e. those exceeding a total of £10,000) submitted after 30 June nor will it accept any minor bids (i.e. those not exceeding a total of £10,000) submitted after 31 October.
Amount of Funding Available
The Fund will not provide funding to any single organisation greater than £50,000 in any single financial year.
The Fund expects best value for money in all cases. All costs, for e.g. accommodation, should be reasonable and demonstrate best value for money. There is no allowance for the provision of alcoholic drinks. Transport costs should be minimised by using any appropriate free or concessionary travel available. Travel costs will be paid at economy rates only. There is no reimbursement to be made for the use of private vehicles by participants. The Fund will consider providing payment for entrance fees. Again, these must demonstrate value for money, availing of any concessionary rates or group discounts.
There must be no expectation that where an organisation has previously received funding that this sets any precedent or priority for providing funding in future years. Applications are judged on their individual merits under the prevailing circumstances.
The Application Process
The application process requires that you complete and submit an application on the form provided. You must do so within the time frame allowed. You must provide all the information required. Where applicable, you may offer an explanation as to why some information may be outstanding at the point of application. You must appreciate that failure to provide all required information may mean that your application cannot be approved.
Canvassing or otherwise seeking unduly to influence decision makers may disqualify organisational bid from further consideration.
Applicants must indicate those eligible clients of the Police Fund, for whom their application relates.
It is essential that you demonstrate that NIPF clients will benefit from the event/programme/activity or service for which you are bidding. The Fund cannot provide financial support otherwise. As well as demonstrating that NIPF clients will benefit, you must state the numbers of NIPF clients who will be involved. The undertaking for which you are bidding may be wholly aimed at NIPF clients or NIPF clients may form only a proportion of the total involved. As the Fund will only consider supporting the costs of provision for its clients, you must provide evidence as to the number of its clients taking part, and the proportion this represents of the overall total.
Evidence of this should be robust i.e. not derived from simple guesswork or by estimating NIPF membership as a percentage of the total membership of your organisation. It may, for example, be the case that while 20% of your total organisational membership is made up of NIPF clientele that only 5% of those participating in your planned event will actually be NIPF clients. In such cases the NIPF would consider providing support for the 5% of those participating/benefitting and not the 20% membership.
You may prefer to submit a list of participants (with their permission) which will enable the Fund to distinguish its clients. Such information will be treated in confidence.
Financial Accounts & Analysis of Spending
You must provide a set of your latest audited accounts. You must submit an original bank statement up to 31 March of the immediately preceding year. Where you hold reserves, you must provide as statement as to your reserves policy. You must itemise your proposed expenditure. In order to ensure that you have sought value for money, you must supply three quotations from suppliers, and indicate how you have justified your choice to opt for any particular one to provide a given product or service. It is expected that in seeking quotes, organisations will not show unwarranted partiality or preference or seek to provide inflated quotes purely for comparative purposes.
You will be required to submit original invoices and receipts for all expenditure made on using grant funding provided by the NIPF as bid for in your application. The Fund may choose to release payment of grant aid in tranches, while awaiting the submission of any outstanding receipts.
Administrative Costs & Overheads
Where a proportion of the bid relates to ‘administrative and overhead costs’ you must provide evidence that these costs will be directly incurred in undertaking the event/programme/activity or service. The Fund recognises that overhead costs are largely driven by service provision and accepts that there may be a legitimate argument and need for the Fund to pay part of these costs. The costs must relate to the provision of the undertaking and are additional costs critical to the delivery of the undertaking. You must declare that they are not covered or paid for from other sources. Administrative costs must equate to those actually incurred. There is no provision to allow for the build up of reserves or provide for contingencies.
In no circumstances will administrative costs exceeding 10% of the total bid be considered. It is expected that the bidding organisation will absorb some of the administrative costs associated with the project.
Resubmitting an Application
If you have to resubmit your application in order to address missing information then you must do so within the period allowed for receiving bids. Where the resubmission follows a request from the Fund to provide clarity on any point or to expand on information given, then you will be allowed 15 working days to resubmit from the date of the Fund’s requesting letter or email. The date for your resubmission, in such specific circumstances, may exceed the closing date for normal receipt of bids.
Any under spend must be declared to the Fund immediately it becomes known. This also includes where the proposed event cannot continue or has to be curtailed so that it is only delivered in part. Arrangements must then be put in place to return the under spend. The grant is restricted income and you have a legal obligation to spend it only on those purposes for which it was given. An under spend cannot be used to generate or build up a ‘reserve’. It can only be used for the purpose/s approved. There is no provision in the original approval of the bid to allow under spends to be converted to any other use, no matter how closely connected that use may be with the original event/programme/activity or service. Should the organisation wish to put an ‘under spend’ to another use or use it to expand on the current provision; this must firstly be communicated to the Fund and cannot be undertaken without express permission from the Fund. The Fund will consider such requests. However, pending such a decision, the organisation must take steps to return the under spend.
Other sources of Funding
You must declare if you have bid for funding for the same undertaking, whether in whole or in part, from another funding body. You must provide details of the amount of funding sought and the body from whom you are seeking funding. You must also declare any proportion of costs which are to be met from members and/or participants contributions.
You must ensure that you do not receive duplication of funding. You must inform the NIPF immediately if you receive funding for any part of an event/programme/activity or service which forms part of your bid to the NIPF.
The NIPF may make an offer contingent on match funding being provided from the organisation itself or from another grant aiding body.
If you believe that there is any other information which is relevant to your application, please provide this, in order that Directors may make an informed decision based on all relevant and project-specific facts. Directors will, at their discretion, consider additional supporting information, where appropriate.