Agenda item

Agenda item

Community Lottery Scheme

The report of the Head of Community Services


The Head of Community Services presented the report, with support from the Community Focus Team Leader.


Several Members questioned the set up costs, projected sales figures, what feedback from other local authorities who were engaged in such schemes had been solicited, and how the money spent on each ticket was distributed.


Officers, with assistance from the representatives from Gatherwell, gave the following advice. There was a one-off £5000 budgeted for an External Lottery Manager to cover most of the initial set up costs, administration and applications for necessary licences; sales were projected to be around 12000 a year once the scheme was up and running; money from each ticket was split 40p to selected good cause, 20p to the Council’s grant fund, and 18p to Gatherwell, plus 18p allocated to cash prizes and 4p is a VAT element. As for consultation, other local authorities such as Blaby and Charnwood had been approached and they had suggested that their lottery schemes had been successful. Member nevertheless requested more clarity in the Cabinet report on financial details such as projections for the first five years of the scheme, and the nature of VAT costs.


A couple of Members inquired about the procurement process, how transparent it had been, and how rigorous it had been when looking for alternative providers and considering value for money. The Head of Community Services advised that the Legal and Finance Teams had been heavily involved in the crafting of the Lottery Scheme and had considered these issues thoroughly. Ultimately Gatherwell was the specialist provider in this area, and this necessarily impacted the nature of the procurement process. Furthermore, this was an annual contract so would be regularly reviewed, and the outcomes of the Scheme would be regularly reported to the Community Scrutiny Committee.


A Member expressed some concern that the Lottery Scheme would promote gambling, at a time when problem gambling was recognised as a growing social issue in Britain.


The Head of Community Services advised that problem gambling was something which Gatherwell would be responsible for robustly mitigating. A representative from Gatherwell then set out the mechanisms in place to do so, and explained for Members why this sort of scheme was low risk when it came to problem gambling: the vast majority of players had a standing monthly direct debit, the average number of tickets purchased per week was 1.8, and there were stringent rules in place with regards to how many tickets players could buy in a certain time frame.


Several Members inquired about how this would be promoted and tickets would be sold, how new and in particular smaller charities would be signed up and how this would impact on Officer’s time. In response, Officers and a representative from Gatherwell advised that the process was largely digitalised, with a phone line for those also available for less technologically literate residents, and that it was an easy to use platform which actually democratised charity funding for smaller charities. The incentive structure operated to reward charities who maximised their own promotion of the scheme. They also advised that the aforementioned External Lottery Manager provided by Gatherwell would be providing lots of support, but some NWLDC staff time would be required. Members suggested that an impact assessment be carried out at the end of year 1, to appraise the actual impact on local charities, and that greater clarity on the impact on staffing within the Community Focus Team be provided in the Cabinet report.


A Member suggested that the proposition was broadly sound, the risks and start-up costs were low, and that the scheme would soon become self-sustainable. Furthermore, if there was displacement of existing donations it would be good to displace funding from national to local causes.


A Member asked whether Lottery funding would be factored into grant requests, and the Head of Community Services advised that no, the two were separate, and grants would follow the standard grant funding process, though the grant fund would be increased by this scheme.


The Chair set out some of her concerns, that the scheme could allow the reduction of funding currently offered through the Council’s grant scheme, that the startup funding for the scheme was insufficient, that it could create a negative perception amongst residents of the District, she also echoed the concerns around burden on staff time raised by other Members, and she suggested that funding conditions should include that registered charities had spent all previous money from the Council in approved way, as had been the case in the Lottery Scheme enacted by Sevenoaks Council. She then invited the Portfolio Holder to speak.


The Portfolio Holder said that this was an easy way for charities to raise money, that the more active they were in marketing it the more they would receive, and most crucially the money would remain within the District. 


The Chair thanked Members for their comments, which would be presented to Cabinet on 27 February.

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