HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 cc12-3W
Mr. Streeter

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what changes are proposed to her Department's funding arrangements for non-governmental organisations; and if she will make a statement. [92378]

Clare Short

We are proposing to make changes to the arrangements for funding Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from the Civil Society Unit. 1999–2000 was the last year in which UK NGOs could apply for funding under the Joint Funding Scheme (JFS) which was originally set up to support the initiatives of the voluntary sector in the UK. Over the next five years, expenditure under this scheme will be phased out and replaced by two new arrangements; the Civil Society Challenge Fund and Partnership Programme Agreements for individual organisations.

The Civil Society Challenge Fund is expected to contribute to the achievement of the International Development Targets, in particular the reduction of poverty. It will be open to a wider range of UK civil society than was the case with the JFS and will fund projects which have a focused approach to strengthening civil society in developing countries. Applications may be submitted from October of this year. Approved projects will be funded from April 2000.

Partnership Programme Agreements will be open to organisations who share DFID's goal of the eradication of poverty and are actively engaged in a range of DFID's strategic concerns. The Agreements will be linked to mutually agreed strategic outcomes, allow for selectivity and flexibility in the application of DFID funding and provide the opportunity for DFID and the partner organisation to maximum the effectiveness of their collaboration. The negotiation of Agreements with individual agencies will begin in Autumn 1999.

In addition to these special schemes DFID will continue to support the work of NGOs across the range of its programmes.

Further information on the new arrangements is available from DFID's Civil Society Unit based in East Kilbride.