Each year, £'millions of grants are handed out by UK government departments, other UK funding agencies, such as RDAs, and through European Union programmes. The recipients of these grants include private companies, charities, other 'not for profit' organisations, as well as public bodies such as local authorities.
Grant schemes are administered by grant paying bodies in different ways and often with differing reporting requirements, which in some cases may be laid down in statute. When an organisation receives grant in aid, it is effectively being financed for all or a major part of its costs by the grant paying body. A typical example of this is the framework set up by the Learning Skills Council (LSC), whereby it may fund a large proportion of the total costs of a college. The college remains at arm's length from the LSC which does not impose detailed controls over the expenditure. Instead, it requires a regularity assertion to be given on the specific use of the grant in aid as part of the overall audit opinion on the financial statements. This requirement is built into the financial memorandum with which each college is required to comply.
In contrast, other grants are provided to organisations for specific purposes and the grant paying body, when allocating the grant monies, seeks to attach detailed conditions to the expenditure. In this case, it requires a separate report by the recipient organisation on the eligibility and/or use of the grant monies.
For all grants of any substance, the reports and claims have to be accompanied by an assurance certificate from an independent accountant.
The specific requirements of the funders vary from scheme to scheme and it is important that these are clearly met in order to avoid any details in grant payments to you, the claimant.
The accountants which you use for this exercise can be your auditors, but that is not necessary because it is a totally separate exercise. Indeed, it may well be that an experienced local independent firm will be able to deal with these certificates much more efficiently and cost effectively than a large national or international practice.
Grant schemes come and go with the whim of government, but examples of the schemes dealt with by CharterGroup firms are as follows:-
Regional Selective Assistance
Selective Finance for Investment
Grant for Research and Development