Child Poverty Practice Accelerator Fund: form and guidance

Fund to test approaches to accelerate action to tackle child poverty.


What funding can be used for

Eligible activities

The primary focus of CPAF proposals should be at least one of the following:

  • identification of potential improvements to service design and delivery that could improve the impact of existing activity to tackle child poverty,
  • improving the uptake and engagement of priority families with services,
  • improving the understanding, targeting and monitoring and evaluation of activities’ impact on tackling child poverty,
  • bringing a greater range of services and sectors to bear on tackling child poverty efforts

Locally determined activities to achieve these aims will be considered. The following is an illustrative list only.

Potential eligible activities include:

Service design and adaptation

  • Service design support to engage with service managers, delivery partners and service users to review existing service delivery and adapt it to provide a stronger focus on tackling poverty and meeting the needs of priority families, noting this could cover a wide range of issues depending on local priorities (e.g. technical service design to address known issues and barriers; bringing a wider range of services to bear on child poverty e.g. transport, economic development, housing, planning; engaging priority families in service design and monitoring in a systematic way to improve delivery; identifying more efficient allocations for existing resources etc.)
  • New or innovative partnerships and/or service delivery designed to overcome barriers priority families face in accessing or using services or gaining and progressing in employment, with funding specifically for initial proof of concept

This could involve reviewing an existing service to improve how it is experienced by priority families, to enhance its effectiveness, or improve its impact on the three drivers of child poverty reduction.

In addition to re-designing a specific service, re-design could look at coordination between different services, and how to improve referral pathways, holistic delivery or bring additional services to bear on tackling poverty.

In scope activities could include resources to review existing delivery, suggest improvements, coordinate partners and pilot changes. Funding for ongoing service delivery outside of a pilot context would not be in scope.

Technical/programme management support

  • Temporary technical and/or project management support to coordinate partners, move from design to operation at pace, and put in place initial reporting requirements including, for example, efforts to improve priority families’ experience of services through e.g. data sharing, colocation and referrals, case management
  • Temporary technical and/or project management support to address sector specific challenges (e.g. how planning, housing and transport links or mental health support services etc. could be better aligned to support parents in a locality)

Data and evaluation

  • Analytical support to better understand and use local data, and design data and monitoring systems to better understand how services are or are not reaching and delivering for priority families
  • Evaluation of new or existing innovative approaches to tackle child poverty (externally commissioned or internally led, where this does not represent core costs)

Ineligible activities

The support on offer cannot be used to fund existing service delivery or members of a core team.

Ineligible activities/costs include:

  • Core and operational costs of Local Authority or Health Board
  • Activities for which other funding is received (e.g. Whole Family Wellbeing Funding, parental employability support), unless there is a clear additionality to the work – for example, targeted work to improve the experience of priority families or connectivity between different services
  • Funding to deliver services, unless there is a clear case for testing a new model of service delivery specifically targeting priority families that could be integrated into future service delivery if there was evidence of effectiveness
  • Additional capacity to fulfil statutory child poverty reporting functions or other statutory requirements
  • Profit-making, fundraising activities or activity that results in private gain
  • Contingency costs, loans, endowments or interest
  • Political or religious activities
  • VAT
  • Statutory requirements
  • Overseas travel

The ineligible expenditure on service delivery is designed to signal that CPAF cannot be used to fund either routine service delivery (e.g. topping up the budget of existing employability services) and it cannot fund service delivery in perpetuity (i.e. these are short, up to 18 month projects, and there will be no additional CPAF funding to sustain services beyond that).

Activities that are testing changes to existing services are within scope, as are pilots of new services where there is clear acknowledgement that, should those services be found to be effective, they would need to secure recurrent funding elsewhere. It may be helpful to think of eligible activity as testing a new element of service delivery – this could be an add-on, a tailored design, or piloting a new service altogether – but funding would be for the test and proof of concept not for ongoing delivery.

Duration of CPAF projects

CPAF projects should be short term by design – trialling and testing, evaluating, temporary re-design etc. However, it is recognised that lead in time for commissioning and recruiting, along with sufficient time for monitoring and evaluation, mean that many projects will need to continue beyond FY 2023/24.

CPAF will accept proposals of up to 18 months, however, grant offer letters will be issued each financial year and subject to performance continuing to meet expectations and budget availability.

Future rounds of funding

We recognise that different areas are at different stages of their work on tackling child poverty, and that it may not be the right time for some areas to take forward accelerator action. Applying to the CPAF is not and should not be considered an indication of commitment to tackling child poverty, but rather an opportunity for some areas to test new approaches to difficult problems, and to generate learning that is of wider benefit.

Through the work of the peer support network and National Partners group, the activities of the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator (see ‘Who can apply) alongside existing professional networks, we will seek to generate lessons that can be shared more widely and, where appropriate, scaled up in the future.

Subject to the quality of proposals, evidence of ongoing need and demand, and available resources, we anticipate running application rounds again in future years. This would be open to all local authorities and health boards, irrespective of who receives funding in the first round. Recognising that new ideas take time to be fully formed and operational, we encourage partners to get in touch with the Scottish Government and/or other National Partners to discuss potential ideas which may become CPAF bids in future years, and to reflect these in their LCPARs.

If you are interested in applying in future we encourage you to submit an expression of interest to TCPU@gov.scot to enable us to gather evidence of future interest in CPAF to inform our decision making.

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