The Process

To apply, contact us on confirming that you match all the criteria to take part in the Centres of Excellence scheme (available here) and that you would like to be added to the waiting list to have an 'MOT'.

The process then follows two independent but concurrent lines:

1. Organisational Review

You will be introduced to one of the consultants from Lester (an arm of DG Legal dedicated to working with charities) who will then get in touch to arrange a date for their visit (the length of this depends on the size of the organisation, a small organisation may take 2/3hours, a large organisation a whole day).

The consultant will request the following in advance of the visit:

  • Your last two sets of accounts
  • Your business / strategic plan
  • Your budget
  • Your fundraising strategy (if you have one)
  • An organogram or staffing structure

They will also inform you about the kinds of things they will want to see and talk about on the day of their visit. We hope this will be a useful opportunity for management (possibly finance officers and trustees should they wish to be involved) to reflect on their situation and look to the future.

About a month later, we then provide you with a report that details the findings and lets you know the initial outcome. This is not a simple pass/fail. The majority of organisations will be developing towards a pass, and our aim is to provide support to help you reach that standard. You are asked to share the report with your trustees and you can also use parts in other funding applications should that be useful. You can see a sample report here.

We then arrange a meeting or a phone call to discuss the report, your thoughts on the assessment and how we might be able to support you further. Together we set milestones and try to see where help may be available from, where needed.

Once you have been recognised as a Centre of Excellence (or very close and with milestones set as to how you are moving towards it), we award an unrestricted grant for core costs. To date, these have been in the region of £10,000 but this depends on a number of factors.

For those organisations who pass as a Centre of Excellence, you will then be in the funding pool for a core grant in November/December for the following year. You will be asked to complete an annual review self assessment questionnaire to help LLST understand any major changes, what challenges you are facing in the next twelve months, and whether any particular needs for support have arisen. We will then award an unrestricted grant for core costs. As we raise all our own funds each year, we cannot guarantee an amount for this. For more information see the FAQs here.

2. Expenditure Review

When you first submit your application, we will also invite you to complete a questionnaire about your organisation's expenditure. LLST will then analyse your answers and provide feedback to give you an idea of how your organisational expenditure compares to other similar charities in the sector and whether any of the group purchase/discount schemes that LLST offers could benefit your organisation. We will follow up to see what savings have been made after a suitable time period. 

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