A to Z of funding (R)


Receipts and payment accounts

Accounts drawn up on a receipts and payments basis should provide a factual summary of all money received and paid during the period they are reporting on, as well as a list of the organisation's assets and liabilities at the end of it. Receipts and payments accounts just show all the transactions that happened during the period. Unlike accruals accounting, it doesn't matter if the money received in one year relates to a service provided in a different financial year, and it doesn't matter if money spent in one year is for something received in another.

If you prepare accounts on this basis, it is important to be consistent - i.e. account for similar items in the same way in each year's accounts.

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Recession funds

A series of funds that have been announced by government since the economic recession. Initially introduced following 2010's emergency budget, these have included the Hardship Fund and Real Help for Communities.

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Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)

In April 1999 these agencies for the nine English regions took over responsibility for key functions previously delivered by the Government Offices for the Regions. RDAs were NDPBs or quangos; each are led by a Chair and a Board of 15 people made up of senior stakeholders within the region including local Government, the voluntary sector, trade unions and local businesses. RDAs are supposed to "have regard to" the views of their Regional Assemblies.

RDAs have been abolished by the Coalition Government and are due to be replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships.

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Reserves are another word for 'savings'. If they can be spent on anything the organisation does, they are called free reserves. If they can only be spent on something in particular, they are restricted.

Organisations need reserves for several purposes, and how much they need will depend on their size and commitments. A Reserves policy might consider how much you need for:

  • Working capital - enough to deal with cash-flow ups and downs
  • Contingency funds - enough to meet contractual obligations to staff if, for instance, you had to pay sick pay or redundancy, and enough to cover other obligations (like building repairs) that might arise.

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Restricted funds, Designated funds

Under the charities SORP, charities have to distinguish between money that has been given for a specific purpose (and must be used only for that), money that has been set aside by the trustees of the charity for some particular purpose, and money that can be used on any of the charity's activities.

Money that has been given for something in particular must be shown in the accounts as restricted.

Money that the Management Committee has formally decided to put 'on one side' for a specific purpose, such as mending the roof, shouldn't be shown as restricted - because the Management Committee could decide to reverse its earlier decision and use the money for something else. Funds of this type are sometimes called designated funds.

Funds that are not designated and not restricted are often called 'general reserves'.

Free reserves (when used by the BIG Lottery Fund) include general reserves and designated funds.

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The money that runs through an organisation - that comes in and is spent within a year. Not capital.

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Ring-fenced funding

Money that can only be used for a particular, specified purpose.

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Risk assessment, risk management

The trustees of charities with an income of over £500,000 and an aggregate asset threshold of £2.8 million are required by the 2005 Charities SORP to report that "the major risks to which the charity is exposed, as identified by the trustees, have been reviewed and systems have been established to mitigate those risks". Smaller charities are encouraged to do the same even though they are not legally required to. The Charity Commission has useful guidance information: Charities and Risk Management.

Organisations are always going to face risks and, indeed, take risks. The important thing is to know what the risks are, how likely they are, what impact they will have if the worst happens, and then have a strategy for managing them. Risks may be to do with the governance of the organisation, the activities it carries out, its finances, external factors like public perception or changes in government policy, or compliance with the law and regulations. Risks that are quite likely to happen and will have a serious impact on the organisation if they do happen are worse than those that are unlikely to happen or those that will not have much of an impact.

How do you reduce risk? You may be able to transfer the risk to somebody else, insure against it, share the risk with others, or develop better systems to reduce the chance of something damaging happening.

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Rolling programmes

Funding programmes that have open applications on an ongoing basis with no stated deadline. Such funds usually end when the pot of money runs out.

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Rural Community Council (RCC)

Rural Community Councils are local development agencies operating in rural areas.

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Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE)

Rural Development Programme for England is a DEFRA scheme to help farmers and foresters to respond better to consumer requirements and become more competitive, diverse, flexible and environmentally responsible. It also provides help to rural businesses and communities which need to adapt and develop.

DEFRA's website has more information on the England Rural Development Programme: rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk

From 2007, Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), Natural England and the Forestry Commission have delivered the RDPE.

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