Cash-First Fund: form and guidance

Fund for partnerships of public sector and third sector organisations for collaborative work to improve urgent local access to cash in a crisis.

Monitoring and evaluation

The Scottish Government is procuring learning and evaluation services and the successful contractors will work with Partnerships to finalise a suitable monitoring approach and an evaluation framework for the Cash-First Programme as a whole.

Partnerships will be expected to monitor and if necessary adapt their activities throughout the Programme though the specific criteria for each grant will vary to reflect the activities being delivered.

Each application must include an indicative approach to monitoring progress towards the intended outcome. For example, how will you know if a test of change is working, how will you know if an at-risk group is receiving a better service etc. Partnerships will send monitoring returns to the learning partner every three months.

Partnerships will be invited to meet with the learning partner within the first three months of delivery and will be provided with tailored advice to inform local decisions. Partnerships will be expected to participate in peer-learning opportunities throughout the Programme. This will include at least four thematic sessions that the learning partner will facilitate after engaging with Partnerships to understand the topics of greatest interest.

The evaluator will provide an independent view on the impact of the Cash-First Programme as a whole, with a final report anticipated in Spring 2026. They will draw on monitoring reports from Partnerships and evidence compiled by the learning partner, as well as undertaking interviews with Partnerships and a cross-section of people supported through the activities delivered. The evaluator will also produce topical good practice resources such as case studies across the two years of the Fund.

Fund and wider Cash-First Programme governance

A Research Advisory Group will meet quarterly to review the delivery of the Cash-First Programme. Membership will include the Scottish Government, learning partner, evaluator, and a representative from both the Partnership cohort and the Steering Group on Ending the Need for Food Banks.

The wider membership of the Steering Group on Ending the Need for Food Banks will receive routine updates twice a year on the progress of the Cash-First Programme.

Relationship between Cash-First Fund and other funding

Being in receipt of other sources of Scottish Government funding to deliver public services or charitable activities will not necessarily exclude Partnerships from applying to this Fund. However, we ask that applicants detail the other sources of funding available and specify the additionality that a successful application to this Fund will provide.

It may be possible for Partnerships to apply to both the Child Poverty Accelerator Fund and the Cash-First Fund, provided they meet the eligibility criteria for both Funds.

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