Parent carer participation grant and monitoring (England)


Contact administers a grant of up to £15,000 available for one parent carer forum in each local authority area of England, funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

The grant is used to strengthen parent carer forums, so that parent carers can participate in the strategic planning and decision-making for services in their area.

Discretionary grant applications

The Discretionary grant process for forums is now open. Only Forums who did not have a confirmed underspend in their 2019/20 monitoring can apply. Applications are capped at £5,000.

We are opening up the process to those forums who did not record an underspend in their 2019/20 monitoring. This is because, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the DfE allowed forums who were under spent in 2019/20 to carry-forward this money into 2020/21. This means forums who recorded an underspend effectively received additional funding in 2020/21. Therefore we want to give those forums who were not underspent in 2019/20 a chance to apply for additional funds to continue their great work in 2020/21.

You will only be allowed to apply for a maximum of £5,000

The application deadline is 14th December 09:00 am

Application Form

Your forum might wish to apply for a discretionary grant to complete an additional piece of work, a consultation, host an event or training, buy new equipment - or something else which, has arisen and is a new priority for your forum since the original grant form was submitted.  You can now apply for a discretionary grant so long as you meet the conditions set out in our guidance.

Application guidance

Important - impact of Covid-19 on the grants process

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak both, Contact and the DfE are aware that forums will struggle to meet the grant deadlines this year. We understand that for many parent carers, forum work will need to be put on hold for now.

Keep in contact with your adviser or the grants team and we will support you. We encourage forums to apply for the grant and to use it to find ways of keeping in touch with your members to reduce isolation and to feedback on how pandemic policies in your areas are affecting families.

There will need to be greater flexibility this year to enable forums to continue to operate in some way, and some temporary changes to processes to allow this - we will outline them below.

Changes to note

  • We are unable to accept posted hardcopy POEs this year to avoid any unnecessary risk to forum members or the participation team.
  • We understand that grant deadline dates may not be met, but urge forums to keep in touch with us so that we can offer any support that would help.
  • Forums can carry over under spend from 2019-20 to 2020-21 without it affecting the total grant for 2020-21.

Grant myth busting

  • Put in your application as soon as you can - your 2019-20 monitoring does not have to be signed off before you can apply for the first half of the 2020-21 grant.
  • Local authorities do not endorse grant applications, they agree to recognise the DfE funded forum and to work with them as a strategic partner - the MOU between forums and the local authority provides clarity on this issue.

Important information for forums with new or different bank accounts

Due diligence checks by the Department for Education on new bank accounts may delay receipt of parent carer participation grant by up to six weeks.

If your parent carer forum has changed bank account since submitting the 2019-20 grant application, is a new parent carer forum, or will be changing bank account before applying for the 2020-21 grant, the forum will need to complete and send a proforma with the new account details to the DfE. The sooner this is done, the less delay there will be in receiving the first grant payment as the checks can be underway or complete by the time your application is submitted.

For further information and to request the proforma, please contact the grants team - pcfgrants@contact.org.uk. This will not change due to Covid-19.

2020-2021 grant applications

The application process for 2020-21 is now open.

Applications can be submitted at any point between 1st April 2020 the closing date of Monday 8th June 2020.

We encourage forums to submit applications at the earliest opportunity to ensure that you receive the grant in the first quarter of 2020-21, though we appreciate that many forums may struggle to do this given the current circumstances. If your forum will struggle, let us know and we can negotiate a revised deadline with you.

All under spend from the 2019-20 grant can be carried forward into the new financial year without it affecting the amount of grant that can be applied for in 2020-21 - this is because Covid-19 caused events to be cancelled and impacted on forums' abilities to complete their work in 2019-20.

What we would recommend is that forums apply for the first tranche and review their spend later in the year before applying for the second tranche - only applying for what your forum will realistically use. The carrying over of funds will inevitably have an impact on the Discretionary grant pot for 2020-21.

The grant 2020-21 grant application form, terms and responsibilities and managing your grant document (which has been split down into more manageable chunks) can be downloaded below:

2020-21 - Grant application form

2020-21 - Terms and responsibilities

2020-21 - Managing your grant

The Grant Guidance is now incorporated into the online application form to make it easier to read as you go along.  See the (?) button on the form for further details.

2019-2020 grant monitoring

The grant monitoring form for 2019-20 is now available and should be submitted by the closing date of Wednesday 29th April 2020.

We understand that many forums may struggle to meet this deadline in light of the Covid-19 situation. Keep in touch and let us know if you need an extension.  The participation team is here to support you.

Forums that received the DfE parent carer participation grant for 2019-20 should submit a grant monitoring form and associated proofs of expenditure (POEs). Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be able to accept posted POEs this year - this is to protect forum members and also members of the participation team from unnecessary risk.

If your forum will have difficulty submitting POEs via DropBox or email, speak to a member of the grants team and they will assist you.

The online monitoring form and guidance on completing it can be accessed below:

2019-20 Grant monitoring form

2019-20 Grant monitoring guidance [PDF]

Changes to grant documentation this year

We have produced a document to explain the changes that were necessary to both the grant application and grant monitoring form this year, and to highlight what they are.

Grants webinar

Watch the recorded 'Grant Monitoring 2019-20 and Applications 2020-21' webinar, which guides forums through all they need to know about the grant application and monitoring process this year. See the FAQ document from the webinar. Please note that the application section of the webinar starts at 22 minutes and 45 seconds.

New - fraud resources

What is fraud? Contact has created a new page for forums with pointers and signposting to useful sources of information on fraud guidance which we strongly recommend that all forums read and familiarise themselves with. Use the tips to protect your forum from the possibility of fraud, if you're not already doing so.

Additional claims/discretionary grants 2020-2021

Second tranche grant payments

We will accept claims for the second tranche payment of the 2020-21 parent carer participation grant from Friday 17th July providing that the forum's 2019-20 grant monitoring has been approved and signed off. All second tranche claim forms must be received by Monday 23rd November 2020. 

Go to the 2nd tranche claim form

Read the second tranche grant payment FAQs.

Regional discretionary grant applications

Regions may apply for a regional discretionary grant as soon as the host forum's 2019-20 grant monitoring has been approved and signed off. Applications must have the support of the parent carer participation advisor and the NNPCF steering group member for the region.

To enable all regions to apply, we will ring-fence nominal funds (of £3,000) for each region until the application deadline date (23rd November), once funds become available. After which time, if the money is unclaimed, it will be released to other forums applying for a discretionary grant.

*We anticipate that there will be less money available in the discretionary grant pot this year due to the agreed carryover of funds from the 2019-20 grant, therefore we will prioritise the reginal grants as they stand to benefit more forums.

Apply for a regional discretionary grant (this is the same form as the discretionary grant form).

Read the discretionary grant payment FAQs.

Queries and further information

If you have any queries about the grants process, please contact your parent carer participation adviser or email pcfgrants@contact.org.uk. We are here to support all forums through the Covid-19 situation, and we realise that it will have a significant impact on parent carer forums and on the grants process.

Managing your 2020-2021 grant

If you are successful in your application for the parent carer participation grant, you will find these documents helpful when managing the grant: