7 May 2003
Ministers are seeking views on how to spend a new £125 million investment package which could enable non-profit bodies to improve their IT systems to deliver electronic public services to citizens.
Spread over the next three years, the Futurebuilders Fund will provide financial support to assist the voluntary and community sector, as well as social enterprises, in their public service work. The fund proposes to target activities in the Government's four priority areas of health and social care, crime and social cohesion, education and learning, and providing support for children and young people, that will provide "added strength" in the long-term.
Eighty per cent of the fund will be set aside for capital investment, allowing organisations to bid for funding for information and communications technology, covering initial investment or upgrades, internet access or to enable services to be delivered electronically. The remaining 20 per cent - representing £25m - has been earmarked for resource funding which could assist, the Government suggests, organisations who may need to train staff to use new computer systems.
"The principal test for schemes resourced by Futurebuilders will be whether the investment enables an organisation, or groups of organisations, to expand or improve their delivery of public services", said a consultation paper released jointly last week by the Home Office and the Treasury. Setting out the guiding principles for the fund, the document states: "Futurebuilders should help and encourage those that have not traditionally accessed funding for service provision to do so." Responses to the Government's proposals are sought by 21 July.
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