Digital Leadership Fund

Status:  Open to applications

Application Deadline: 07 December 2018


Grants for existing programmes in England to improve the digital capability of civil society leaders so they are able to confidently embed digital in their organisations.

Fund Value: £ 1,000,000
Maximum Value: £ 170,000
Minimum Value: £ 10,000

Value Notes

There is £1 million available for this round. Grants are awarded for the financial year 2018/19.

Grants of between £10,000 and £170,000 are available.

The value of the grant requested within this financial year must not represent more than 50% of the applicant organisation’s, or consortia’s collective, annual income. As an example: if an organisation (or consortia) applied for a £100,000 grant to be received over one financial year, the collective annual turnover needs to be £200,000 or more in order that the grant is not more than 50% of the annual turnover/income. If applicable, this figure may be adjusted based on income of the parent organisation.

Applicants can apply for a grant of up to £170,000 in order to stay below the state aid de minimis threshold. Applicants must ensure they have not received more than €270,000 from a public body over a rolling period of three fiscal years that could be deemed state aid.

Extended Description

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has launched the £1 million Digital Leadership Fund which will be managed and run by the Office for Civil Society.

The purpose of the Digital Leadership Fund is to improve the level of digital leadership skills among civil society leaders by adding value to a number of existing digital leadership training programmes. The aim is for participants to develop an understanding of how technology can help their organisations achieve their social missions in a more effective and efficient way and become better equipped to embed this change at an operational level.

Civil society leaders can include civil society chief executives, trustees, senior teams or digital leads. The aim is to provide people in senior positions who have the authority to bring about digital transformation with the right skills to do so.

Latest Information

The deadline for applications is 7 December 2018.                            

Key Criteria

Applications will be considered from individuals and consortia of organisations from England that propose clear projects that fit the criteria for the relevant category of funding.

Organisations including private sector organisations, charities, community-led businesses, social enterprises, mutuals, public sector organisations and community organisations are all eligible to apply.

Applications are welcomed from individual organisations or consortia with an identified lead organisation. There is particular interest in applications from organisations whose projects cover more than one location, cover locations outside of London, or include a peer-learning element.

Where applicable, bids must include details of safeguarding arrangements.

Eligible Expenditure

The funding is for the expansion, improvement or re-working of an existing digital leadership training programme which will result in greater value added to civil society leaders with regard to their digital leadership capability.

An expanded, improved or re-worked training programme does not necessarily mean a ‘scale-up’ or ‘expansion’ through an increase in the number of training opportunities provided. There is also interest in funding programmes which improve the learning experience for participants, for example through improving the method of learning, even if the numbers of participants remain the same. Another way to ‘re-work’ a programme to result in increased value added could be to use the funding from this grant to subsidise the cost of training for participants.

Funds must be spent and all projects and activity must be delivered in full by 31 March 2019.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Academic research - Academic or desk-based research projects will not be funded. However, applications for action research, including pilot projects to test new ideas, are welcomed (please note: funding for any follow-on work is not guaranteed).
  • Appeals.
  • Campaigning and awareness raising.
  • Core costs - other than for those that can be evidenced as directly related to the project outlined in the application.
  • Debts or loans.
  • Fees for professional fundraisers.
  • Party political organisations.
  • Projects outside our funding priorities.
  • Promotion of religious beliefs.
  • Retrospective funding.
  • Schools, colleges and hospitals.
  • Activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action.

Payment Procedure

Payment is made in arrears and payment in advance will only be made by exception.

Application Procedure

The deadline for applications is 7 December 2018. Applicants will be informed whether or not they have been successful in December 2018. It is expected that individual grant agreements will be finalised with successful applicants by December 2019. Exact timing will vary on a case-by-case basis.

An application form and guidance notes can be found on GOV.UK.

The completed application form should be submitted by email.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download their website.
Contact details:
Digital Leadership Fund Enquiries
Office for Civil Society (OCS) 
1 Horse Guards Road