Access Quadrennial Review – Call for Evidence

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The Oversight Trust has established a Panel to carry out an independent Review of Access – the Foundation for Social Investment (Access) and is inviting any stakeholders interested in contributing to the review to contact the Panel to share their views.


The Oversight Trust is responsible for the oversight of the work of the four organisations that receive Dormant Account Funding for England: Access, Big Society Capital, Fair4All Finance and Youth Futures Foundation. Its role is to ensure they are remaining true to their respective missions.

Part of this oversight involves commissioning an independent review of each organisation every four years with the overall brief of examining their effectiveness on delivering on their goals. Last year, the first such review was done of Big Society Capital and the final report of the Review Panel can be found here:

Access Quadrennial Review

In 2021 the Review Panel will be reviewing Access with evidence gathering in the coming weeks and the final report to be published in 2Q21.

The Panel’s approach will be to highlight Access’s key achievements and identify strategic issues where it believes further consideration is required for sustained success in delivering on its mission*. In particular, the review will consider how successful the organisation has been in delivering systems change and will also analyse its cost-effectiveness in meeting its objectives.

The output of the Review will be a focused Report intended for the executive teams and Boards of the Oversight Trust and Access. It will be published on both organisations’ websites alongside their responses. A copy of the Report will be emailed to all parties interviewed by the Review Panel.

The Review Panel is seeking input from stakeholders, many of whom will be approached directly, but all interested parties are invited to respond to the questions below. Responses will be treated in confidence and not shared with Access but directed to a Secretariat that is supporting the Review. Please send any response or request for further information to Sophie Kelly:

Responses should be received by 15 March.

The independent Review Panel** comprises: Keith Leslie (Lead), Claire Brown and Neil Sherlock supported by Fiona Young Priest (Secretariat).


    1. Effectiveness in social investment system change.
      How effective has Access been in promoting enterprise activity and developing access to finance for the social sector in England? In particular, how do you consider Access has delivered the broader systems change suggested by its mission, and achieved social impact?

Please comment on how effective Access has been in: enabling social investment providers to offer new financial products via blended finance and removing barriers to finance; and also supporting enterprise development in specific parts of the sector. What issues should be addressed or opportunities developed to deliver enhanced systems change and social impact?

    1. Cost-effectiveness and Process
      How cost-effective has Access been in meeting its objectives? What changes in process or systems should be considered? What overlaps or gaps in relationships between Access and other institutions (commercial or government or voluntary) should be addressed?


The Mission of Access is defined in the latest Strategy agreed by the Access Board which reflects the formal Object as laid out in its Articles.

Access Articulation of its role in its latest Strategy Document (2018):

Access works to make charities and social enterprises in England more financially resilient and self-reliant, so that they can sustain or increase their impact.

We do this through supporting the development of enterprise activity to grow and diversify income, and improving access to the social investment which can help stimulate that enterprise activity.

Access will be around for a decade, but the need for this work will continue well beyond that. So our approach is to work through others to create partnerships which can outlive us, test and learn from new approaches, and generate knowledge which improves the work of others seeking the same goals.

Object of Access in its Articles:

Promoting the effective use of resources for charitable purposes by the social sector including, without limitation, by:

  1. i) identifying needs in the social sector, such as access to finance, and supporting and developing programmes, policies, activities and initiatives to address those needs; and
  2. ii) developing capacities and skills of the social sector.

Furthering such other purposes as are exclusively charitable under the laws of England and Wales as the Directors from time to time determine, including, without limitation, supporting work undertaken by social organisations which have a charitable purpose.

The Articles also specify the use of Dormant Account Monies:

The Company must ensure that all dormant account monies received by it directly or indirectly under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 shall be used by it in a manner that is consistent with it being a social investment wholesaler under that Act.


Keith Leslie

Keith is Chair at the Samaritans (UK & Ireland), before which he was Chair of the Mental Health Foundation. Formerly a partner at Deloitte and McKinsey. 

Neil Sherlock CBE

Neil is a Trustee of National Literacy Trust, was a partner at KPMG and then PwC and served as a special adviser to Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg in the Coalition Government. 

Claire Brown

Claire sits on the Advisory Board of Cazenove’s Charity Authorised Investment Funds and is a trustee of various charities, formerly she was the Finance & Investment Director at the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. 


Fiona Young Priest

Formerly Head of Finance and Resources at Tudor Trust and before that Director of Finance and Resources at Crisis UK.