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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Local government partnership programmes: management boards and committees

Many organisations involved in partnership programmes choose to deliver the programme by forming a management board or committee. The primary purpose of the management board or committee is to determine the policy and direction of the programme, to approve funding for agreed activities and decide which of the partners is responsible for delivering those activities.

Usually the partners will have agreed between themselves at the start of the project who has responsibility for delivering particular activities. However, as the programme develops it may become necessary to provide services that were not initially anticipated. It is the responsibility of the management board or committee to decide who is best placed to deliver that service.

Generally this will be the local authorities, health authorities and voluntary groups who have the infrastructure and resources to carry out, or contract for, these activities.

For example:

  • a local authority may be in a position to offer one of its buildings for the use of the programme and they will contract for any refurbishment services, maintenance and the like
  • the local health authority may be in a position to provide health visitors to visit parents of new-born children, and
  • voluntary groups may be in position to provide staff, say, for childcare facilities.

Other individual members, such as parents and doctors, are more likely to contribute through their knowledge and experience. The structure of management boards and committees and a condition of Sure Start funding (see VATGPB6610), is that these individuals have the same right as any other member to veto proposals.

A further factor is that the funding body, as a condition of its grant, may require specific bodies to carry out certain tasks. For example, a specific body might be made responsible for administering the funds. On this basis a typical board will be structured as follows:

  • an ‘accountable body’ responsible for finance (see VATGPB6400)
  • a ‘lead partner’ responsible for chairing the management board or committee or for delivering most of the promised outputs, and
  • other partners, including the two above, who may be tasked with delivering certain services or giving general policy input.

Because of the unincorporated status of the management board it cannot receive or make supplies of goods or services. Therefore any payments received by a partner from partnership funds, in connection with an activity that it has agreed to deliver, will not be consideration for a supply of services.

In the light of this it is accepted that those persons who contract for particular goods and services to be used for their contribution to the partnership programme are the recipient for VAT purposes. VAT recovery will depend on their status.

If one of the partners is a section 33 body (see VATGPB4000), it can recover any VAT incurred, so long as the proper rules are followed.

As a result the management board has a choice in deciding whether to provide funding on a VAT inclusive or exclusive basis. If it is awarded on an inclusive basis a condition of the funding may require the section 33 body to repay any VAT recovered to the management board, although this cannot be insisted upon. Non-section 33 partners are unlikely to be able to recover any VAT they incur.