Department of Health – Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund

Department of Health – Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund

Status: Open to applications
Application Deadline: 11 October 2013


Funding from one to three years is available to voluntary sector organisations in England to support proposals with a clear focus on supporting and driving forward new ideas, excellence and/ or the undertaking of strategic developments in voluntary sector capacity and/or capability in the health and care field.

Value Notes

In 2013, some 49 projects received a share of £5.5 million. The awards ranged from £24,496 to 408,783 (for the first year allocations).

There are no maximum or minimum amounts but bids should be realistic and incorporate full cost recovery as funding is very limited.

The funding can be for one, two, or three years depending on the length of the project.

Proposals under the Innovation and Excellence strands will not be accepted where the proposal costs are more than 25% of the applicant's income each year.

Extended Description

The Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund is provided by the Department of Health. The scheme provides funding from one to three years to support proposals in the health and care field. To be successful, organisations will need to have a clear focus on how their proposals would support and drive forward new ideas, disseminate and replicate excellence or undertake strategic developments in voluntary sector capacity and/or capability in the health and care field.

There are three strands under the 2013-14 funding round, which are:

Strand 1 – Innovation

Strand 1 will support new and creative approaches to improve people’s health and well-being by developing health and care services both at local and national level. This strand should be applied to if the proposed activities meet all five of the following criteria:

  • Offer a new approach to improving people’s health and well-being.
  • Aim to develop a new way of delivering health or care services at local or national level.
  • Have not been evaluated to see how effective or relevant it is.
  • Has the potential to have a national impact.
  • Show the organisation's knowledge of existing services and the way(s) they currently fail to achieve their aims.

Strand 2 – Excellence

Strand 2 will support organisations that deliver projects which replicate effective practice and proven models of health and care services. This strand may be used to disseminate the learning from a project previously funded under the Innovation Strand. This strand should be applied to if the proposed activities meet both of the following criteria:

  • Aim to actively share effective practice or copy a proven model of delivering health or care services across two or more regions of England.
  • Have been evaluated to test how effective or relevant it is in two or more regions of England.

Strand 3 Strategic Development

Strand 3 will support organisations to develop improved capacity and capability in health and care and to promote greater partnership and collaboration between voluntary sector organisations, NHS organisations, local authorities and other health and care organisations. This strand should be applied to if the proposed activities or organisation meet any of the following:

  • Supports working with local commissioners to promote partnership, coproduction and collaborative approaches to improving health and care services.
  • Promotes greater partnership working, including developing new models of delivery that are more efficient and effective over the long term.
  • Aims to develop a sustainable business model so the organisation's income streams are more diverse with limited or no need for central government funding.
  • Is a small national organisation who wants one year of development funding to develop a better business model or to produce plans to merge with similar organisations to improve quality and efficiency.
  • Can develop organisational business models that progress personalisation in health and care services including access, information and financial models.
  • Can develop sustainable business models that support and strengthen community capital and social enterprise approaches at local level.

Latest Information

The closing dates for the 2014/15 Application Round are:

  • 11 October 2013 (noon) for Registration and Eligibility.
  • 25 October 2013 (noon) for Online Applications.

Key Criteria

Organisations must fall within one of the following categories:

  • Not-for-profit and incorporated (Company Limited by Guarantee and registered with Companies House or a Community Interest Company or a Co-operative or Industrial and Provident Society or a Social Enterprise).
  • Charitable status (registered with the Charity Commission).

Eligible organisations must:

  • Meet the legal conditions set out in Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968.
  • Provide health and care services in England.
  • Have an equal opportunities policy and health and safety policy.

Proposals must:

  • Have, or plan to have, a national impact which means that proposals should be able to make a difference to the health and well-being of people across England. (Proposals with a purely local effect will not be considered.)
  • Have equality and tackling health inequalities as their core activities.

Proposals should show how they contribute to one of the following cross-cutting funding themes:

  • Personalisation and choice of care and support.
  • Delivering better health and care outcomes.
  • Improving public health.
  • Improving long-term care and support.
  • Delivering safe and compassionate care.

Eligible Expenditure

Costs associated with eligible health and social care projects.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Organisations based outside England.
  • Organisations without suitable accounts.
  • Organisations formed less than 12 months ago.
  • Individuals or sole traders.
  • Organisations that make profit for private gain.
  • Public bodies, including community or town councils, local authorities, schools, or universities.
  • Local activities and services that are the responsibility of local commissioners.
  • Activities which are not allowed under the organisation’s aims.
  • Delivering an existing service locally that is the responsibility of local organisations to arrange and pay for based on an assessment of local needs.
  • Proposals that simply continue existing initiatives or activities.
  • Routine ongoing, updating or maintenance costs of websites and other electronic communications, phone helplines and hard copies of materials.
  • Party political activities.
  • Fundraising.
  • Research projects. Research is defined for this purpose as ‘creative work carried out to increase knowledge’.
  • Capital projects, for example, buildings, refurbishment and transport. Proposals can include up to £5,000 of capital spending for equipment.
  • Proposals for the Innovation and Excellence strands where the funding requested each year is more than 25% of the organisation's yearly income. For the Strategic Development strand, each application will be judged on its merits.
  • Proposals that include passing all or some of the grant funding to individuals or other organisations, for example through grants.

Application Procedure

Applications can only be made online. The hard copies of the application forms are for reference only and to help applicants prepare to fill in the online application form.

Applicants will first need to register with the online grant application system (AIMS) and complete an organisation profile so their eligibility can be checked before starting a new application.

Existing users of the online system can begin the process without having to register but they must complete the eligibility form by noon on 11 October 2013.

New applicants must register with the online system first.

Applications must be accompanied by:

  • Three-year project plan.
  • The last years’ annual report and final accounts, unless they are available on the Charity Commission website.
  • Confirmation that the organisation has equal opportunities and health and safety policies.
  • Details of the organisation’s staffing structure and proposal.
  • A copy of memorandum and articles of association, constitution or other governing document.
  • A three-year budget plan.
  • References.

In addition, Excellence applications will need to provide a "Proof of Evaluation".

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download on this site – please see the downloadable files on the right hand panel at the top of this page – or alternatively please check the funding body’s own website.

Contact details:
Voluntary Sector Partnership Team Department of Health (DH)
2E23 Quarry House
Quarry Hill
Telephone: 0113 2545450
Email :[email protected]

For more information, please visit Funding Central.  Registration is completely free