1.1 This policy applies to OKRE: Opening Knowledge across Research and Entertainment (Charity).
1.2 The charitable objects of the Charity are primarily the advancement of education and the arts and the promotion of research and effectiveness of charities (Objects).
1.3 The Charity is governed by the company directors and charity trustees of the Charity (the Directors) who have a duty, acting at all times in the best interests of the Charity, to apply the Charity’s assets to advance the Objects and have ultimate responsibility for all grant-making decisions.
1.4 The purpose of this policy is to set out the principles and procedures that guide the Directors when they are making grants to further the Objects. It also provides information about the Charity’s grant-making process to anyone who is applying to the Charity, or would like to apply to the Charity, for a grant.
1.5 In this policy “Connected Persons” or persons who are “connected” with a Director mean:
(i) any spouse, civil partner, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent or grandchild of a Director;
(ii) the spouse, unmarried partner or civil partner of any person in falling within paragraph (i) above;
(iii) any person who carries on business in partnership with a Director or with any person falling within paragraph (i) or (ii) above;
(iv) an institution which is controlled by either a Director, any person falling within paragraphs (i), (ii) or (iii) or a Director and any person falling within paragraphs (i), (ii) or (iii) taken together; and
(v) any corporate body in which a Director or any person falling within paragraphs (i), (ii) or (iii) has a substantial interest, or two or more such persons, taken together, have a substantial interest.
2. Our funding priorities
2.1 The Directors are keen to support activities that advance the Objects in an effective way. However, they recognise that a limited amount of funds is available to distribute each year.
2.2 The Directors’ current funding priorities are channelled through a grant scheme called the “OKRE Fund” which is intended to catalyse development of new ideas based on cross-sector collaboration. The funding priorities of the Fund are being shaped by the Directors in collaboration with any third parties co-funding it.
2.3 The Directors will occasionally award grants that fall outside the priorities stated in this policy, provided that they are satisfied that the grant will further the Objects and is an appropriate use of the Charity’s funds.2,.
2.4 The Directors will review the grant-making priorities and principles set out in this policy annually.
3. Who can apply for a grant
3.1 The Directors welcome proposals that support their funding priorities from organisations and individuals.
3.2 The Directors will not usually award grants to an applicant that has previously submitted an unsuccessful proposal to the Charity or a proposal where the applicant failed the Directors’ due diligence checks and the issues identified at that time have not been addressed.
4. What we fund
4.1 The Directors usually make grants of between £500 and £25,000.
4.2 All grants awarded by the Charity must be used to cover costs that are directly connected to carrying out the charitable activities that the Directors have agreed to fund (Funded Activities). Grants can be used either to cover costs that are directly connected to carrying out the charitable activities that the Directors have agreed to fund or to fund expenditure on the following:
(a) salary costs
(b) capital expenditure, provided the applicant is able to demonstrate that the expenditure is essential to the charitable activities that the Directors have agreed to fund and that any assets acquired using grant money will be used for similar purposes after the end of the proposed activities; and
(c) contributions to the cost of overheads, provided that the applicant is able to demonstrate that such overhead costs are essential for, and directly linked to, the charitable activities that the Directors have agreed to fund.
4.3 The Directors will award grants to fund up to 100% of the cost of a proposal. However the Directors:
(a) will consider funding part of the cost of a proposal where the total cost is shared with one or more other funders; and
(b) encourage applicants to seek matched or additional sources of funding for their proposal.
4.4 If a grant covers part of the cost of a proposal, the Directors may require the applicant to provide details of the other funder(s) and the funding that they have secured or applied for (including any loans or other commercial funding).
5. How to apply for a grant
5.1 All proposals must cover all such points as the Charity may specify from time to time and be submitted according to the procedure set out on the Charity’s website from time to time.
5.2 If the application is made by or on behalf of an organisation, the following must also be provided either together with the proposal or prior to the Charity making a final decision:
(a) a complete, up-to-date copy of the organisation’s governing document;
(b) if the organisation is a UK charity:
(i) its registered charity number(s) as issued by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator and/or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; and/or
(ii) if it is a charity under the law of England and Wales that is not required to register with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (because it is either an exempt or excepted charity, or has income below the registration threshold), evidence of its charitable status (such as an HMRC reference number);
(c) if the organisation is a charity established outside the UK, evidence:
(i) of its charitable status. This might, for example, include evidence of registration with a non-UK charity regulator and/or written confirmation from an appropriately qualified professional that the organisation is established as a charity in the relevant jurisdiction; and
(ii) that all of the activities in the proposal will qualify as being charitable for the public benefit if they are undertaken by an organisation that is registered as a charity in England and Wales.
(d) the organisation’s most recent set of accounts.
5.3 If the applicant is a non-charitable organisation the proposal must also:
(a) provide evidence that the organisation has a bank account; and
(b) demonstrate that all of the activities in the proposal will qualify as being charitable for the public benefit if they are undertaken by an organisation that is registered as a charity in England and Wales.
6. How we make decisions about grants
6.1 The Directors have ultimate responsibility for all grant-making decisions and for ensuring that all funds awarded are used to advance the Objects. In doing so, the Directors must act independently, in the best interest of the Charity and in furtherance of its Objects. As a result, applicants must refrain from trying to influence the Directors’ decision making process and must adhere to our grant application procedure (as described in paragraph 5.1).
6.2 The Directors must declare the nature and extent of any interest, direct or indirect, which could, or could be seen to, prevent them from making a grant decision only in the best interests of the Charity. Situations in which a conflict of interest may arise include where:
(a) a Director (or a person connected to them) stands to benefit from a grant from the Charity (see paragraph 7 (Grants to Directors or Connected Persons)); or
(b) a Director has a duty of loyalty to a third party that conflicts with their duty to the Charity.
Any such conflict of interest must be declared and managed by the Directors in accordance with the Charity’s conflicts of interest policy.
6.3 The Directors may delegate such decision-making responsibilities as they see fit from time to time.
6.4 In all cases where a recommendation is made to them to award a grant, the Directors may (in their absolute discretion) refuse to approve that recommendation, particularly if they consider that a grant would not be an effective way to further the Objects, or would conflict with the Charity’s policies or interests.
6.5 OKRE will endeavour to consider grant proposals within 8 weeks but may take up to 12 weeks to consider grant proposals and decide if they will award a grant or not.
6.6 OKRE will inform applicants of their decision in writing.
6.7 If an applicant is awarded a grant, OKRE will:
(a) set out the key terms of the grant and any conditions that are attached to it in a grant letter; and
(b) ask the applicant to sign the grant letter to indicate that they accept the terms and conditions.
6.8 If the Directors decide not to award a grant for a proposal the Directors are not obliged to give the applicant reasons for their decision but may, if requested by the applicant, give the applicant such written feedback on the reasons for their decision as they consider appropriate.
6.9 The Directors’ decision whether to award a grant is final.
7. Grants to Directors or Connected Persons
7.1 The Charity’s articles of association authorises a Director or any person connected to them to receive a benefit from the Charity as a beneficiary of the Charity, provided that a majority of the Directors do not benefit in this way.
7.2 If an application for a grant is made to the Charity by a Director, or a person connected to them, the non-conflicted Directors may therefore consider making the grant in accordance with this policy.
7.3 If a Director, or a person connected to them, applies for a grant the conflicted Director must:
(a) absent themselves from any discussion of the grant application by the non-conflicted Directors; and
(b) have no vote and not be counted as part of the quorum in any decision of the non-conflicted Directors on the grant; and
(c) follow the procedures set out in the Charity’s articles of association and conflict of interest policy.
8. Due diligence
8.1 When OKRE is considering a grant-funding proposal, they will undertake due diligence checks on the applicant. The checks that are undertaken will vary according to OKRE’s assessment of any risks associated with the proposal or the applicant.
8.2 Due diligence may include requesting details of, and taking such steps as the Directors consider to be reasonable to scrutinise, any of the following:
(a) the applicant’s governing documents;
(b) if applicable, the applicant’s status as a charity, including (where it is required to do so) evidence that the applicant has been registered with a charity regulator;
(c) the applicant’s latest accounts and financial position;
(d) the identity of the applicant’s directors, trustees, executive committee or other key personnel, in particular, to seek to establish whether they are authorised to act in that capacity;
(e) the applicant’s governance and operational structures and practices;
(f) the applicant’s internal financial controls;
(g) relevant operational policies and procedures that the applicant has in place;
(h) the applicant’s aims and values; and
(i) any external risk factors that might affect the proposal.
8.3 In cases where the applicant will receive support from another funder, or works with a partner, the Directors may undertake due diligence on that funder or partner
8.4 The Directors will keep a written record of any due diligence that they undertake.
9. Reporting requirements and monitoring
9.1 The Directors will take steps to monitor the use of the grant and verify that the grant is used for the purposes that have been agreed. The arrangements for monitoring will vary according to the nature of the grant, but the Directors will always seek to ensure that the arrangements are appropriate and proportionate.
9.2 Arrangements for monitoring use of the grant may include asking the recipient to provide any of the following:
(a) copies of formal records such as receipts, invoices, bank statements and management accounts to show that funds have been used for the purpose for which they have been awarded and in accordance with the terms of the grant;
(b) regular written or verbal updates showing progress to date, summarising key achievements or problems encountered, indicating whether targets have been met and giving reasons for any delay in implementing work funded by the grant;
(c) a final written report on completion of the work funded by the grant, showing how funds have been spent, evaluating where the work has been successful and identifying lessons that can be learnt; and
(d) information about any proposed changes to the proposed activities.
9.3 If appropriate, the Directors may also visit grant-funded activities and interview individuals involved in running those activities.
9.4 Basic monitoring requirements will be set out in the grant letter. However, the Directors may take any additional steps to monitor the use of grant funds that they consider appropriate.
10. Clawback and repayment
The Directors may require repayment of all or any part of the grant if:
(a) the project or purpose for which it was awarded does not proceed;
(b) part of the grant remains unused when the activities that the grant was intended to fund have been completed; or
(c) the grant is used for a purpose other than that which has been agreed.
11. Reviewing and amending this policy
11.1 This policy will be reviewed by the Directors at least annually.
11.2 The Directors may vary the terms of this policy from time to time.