Report of the Managing Director of BHE
The Board considered a report of the Managing Director of BHE requesting funding of £5 million to be awarded to London Legal Support Trust (LLST) [charity no: 1101906] over five years towards onward grant making under the Advice Skills Development Fund (ASDF) and towards the process of co-designing a funding programme, including overall administration costs of both activities (co-design and onward grant making) The Managing Director of BHE introduced the report and presented the application.
The Board was advised that the Grants Committee of the BHE Board had agreed to recommend a grant of £6 million to the Board for approval, rather than the £5 million originally recommended by officers, having concluded that this would be of substantive benefit. The Deputy Chair explained that the original application request had been for £7.5 million, with a £5million grant having been initially recommended by officers. However, the Grants Committee assessed the structure of the grant and the administrative costs and had concluded that an extra £1 million would facilitate £5 million in distribution of actual grant-funding.
A Member voiced their concern regarding proportionality, and the sustainability of awarding sums of this size. Another Member sought clarification as to whether the grant would leverage additional funding from the rest of the sector. The Managing Director of BHE responded that the proposal was one part of the wider Alliance programme for which an allocation of £15 million of funding had been agreed, with this proposal being the largest grant over the longest period, and the amount per year therefore within the expected range. The Managing Director of BHE added that it had been communicated that the Alliance partnerships were one-off programmes, but were likely to leverage funding from elsewhere as part of the Collaborative Action Recovery (CAR) work.
In response to a question from a Member, the Managing Director of BHE advised that some of the funding would go towards developing more sustainable structures in the legal support sector, noting that demand was unlikely to fall away. The Managing Director of BHE added that several funders already supported the sector, but BHE would maintain relationships and would be represented on the Advice Skills Development Fund Advisory Panel. Whilst there was a level of risk, other organisations were involved and the proposals sat within wider CAR work.
The Deputy Chair reiterated his support for the proposal and noted that outreach work would take place to recruit the experience needed for the programme. The Deputy Chair added that experience in this area would also help with unlocking statutory funding. The Chair added that this seemed to be an area where BHE could add value, and thanked Members for their comments, before seeking the Board’s approval for the recommended £6 million grant, which was agreed.
RESOLVED – That the BHE Board agree a grant of £6 million over five years to London Legal Support Trust, per the terms recommended by the Grants Committee.