1. Strategy
  2. National Lottery Strategy
  3. Background and context

Background and context

BFI National Lottery funding

  • Under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 (as amended), proceeds from the National Lottery are split between a number of ‘good causes’. This includes the arts, sport, national heritage and beyond.
  • The BFI acts as the UK-wide distributor of National Lottery good cause funding for film.
  • The BFI is an arms-length body supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. We invest money from the Government as well as National Lottery funding to achieve our mission and aims.
  • The National Lottery etc. Act 1993 (as amended) sets the terms for how the BFI awards National Lottery funding. This includes through directions issued to the BFI by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which you can find here.

These directions set out a number of ways in which National Lottery funding can deliver benefit to the public, including:

  • to involve the public and local communities in making policies and setting priorities for how we use this good cause funding
  • to encourage new talent, innovation, excellence and to help people to develop new skills
  • to ensure that film is central to the lives of UK citizens, and to improve the quality of British film and raise its profile in the marketplace
  • to inspire children and young people
  • to improve community cohesion and/or social inclusion
  • to unlock film heritage for everyone in the UK
  • to increase access and participation for those in sections of society who do not currently benefit from opportunities available
  • to help the sector develop sustainably
  • to support equality of opportunity across the UK

This National Lottery Strategy has been developed in consultation with the public and people working across the screen sector

What we mean by a National Lottery Strategy (2023-2033)

This National Lottery Strategy sets out what the BFI will aim to achieve through investment of National Lottery funding over the next 10 years.

The strategy sets out these aims within a framework that comprises:

  • cross-cutting principles that apply across every area of National Lottery funding
  • objectives relating to the major ambitions for where we would like to see the sector in 10 years’ time
  • outcomes focusing on the results that need to be delivered to realise the objectives

All activity supported using National Lottery funding over the next 10 years will need to deliver against this framework. We will return to the framework over the strategy period to make sure it remains fit for purpose as the landscape continues to shift.

What we mean by a funding plan

We published this National Lottery Strategy alongside the first in a series of funding plans. These plans sit beneath the strategy and set out how we will use National Lottery funding to deliver against the strategic framework. The plans will each cover a period of three or four years and will set out the specific funds and programmes that the BFI will run over this period. 

Running shorter funding plans will allow us to improve how we deliver against the strategy over time. We will be able to adapt or introduce new funds and programmes as we evaluate which are effective, and as the needs of the screen sector evolve. It will also allow us to tailor programmes and delivery as the amount of available funding changes over time.

Our first funding plan covers the period 2023-2026. The plan accounts for a reduction of around 10% in the levels of National Lottery funding available as we enter the strategy period.

How we have developed this National Lottery Strategy

We have undertaken an extensive process to develop this National Lottery Strategy, including phases of consultation with both the public and the UK screen sectors (including film, television, video games, and interactive and& immersive) on their priorities for the next 10 years.

Phase one: initial evidence gathering (August 2021-January 2022)

First off, we gathered as much information as possible on public and sector priorities for National Lottery funding. We did this in a number of ways:

  1. We consulted widely. We consulted more than 2,000 members of the public and around 300 sector stakeholders on their priorities for funding over the next 10 years. This first round of consultation took place from August to October 2021 and produced a rich range of insights.
  2. We talked to wider stakeholders. This included people working in related areas, but not within the screen sector itself. For example, we spoke to schools and education providers across the UK about how funding can help children and young people connect with screen culture both inside and outside the classroom.
  3. We gathered research and analysis on key questions. We collected and reviewed more than 50 pieces of research and analysis on the current status and future trajectory of the UK screen sectors and its audiences.
  4. We evaluated programmes supported through BFI National Lottery funding under BFI2022. This helped us understand what has worked well in the past, what could improve, and where the sector will need different support in the future.

Phase Two: testing and refining our thinking (January-September 2022)

We developed a draft framework of principles, objectives and outcomes based on this evidence. We developed this framework in line with the HM Treasury Green Book, which provides guidance on designing programmes. We published the draft framework in April 2022. 

Since publishing this draft, we have refined the framework in a number of ways:

  1. We ran a second round of consultation. We asked people whether the framework was fit for purpose, whether there was anything missing, and whether we should make any changes. 

We offered an online survey on the draft framework, which was open to anyone to contribute or comment on over a 4-week period. We also held a series of online meetings from 14 cities across the UK. These sessions gave people the chance to share their thoughts on how well the draft framework reflected their needs.

We held these meetings in:

  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Glasgow
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Plymouth
  • Sheffield

We also ran sessions on key areas of focus, including young people, video games and interactive content, and equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Integrating further insights. We continued to amend the strategy as new research and insight became available over this period. This included: 

  • BFI Skills Review. In 2021 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) commissioned the BFI to undertake a skills review, focusing on scripted film and high-end television physical production. We published the findings in June 2022, which are available here.
  • Economic Review of UK Independent Film. The BFI worked with Alma Economics on a new report on the revenue models in independent film. The report set out key opportunities and challenges currently facing the sector. We published this in July, and is available here.
  • BFI Diversity Standards Review. Consultancy firm New Inclusion reviewed the BFI Diversity Standards to make sure they remain fit for purpose in the future. New Inclusion worked with key stakeholders to do this. We will shortly launch a new set of Standards, and will use them as we move into the new strategy period from April 2023. The Standards will be subject to further review over the strategy period as work in this area continues.
  • Further evaluation. We continued to evaluate BFI2022 programmes over this period, and drew on their findings as we developed the strategy. 

BFI National Lottery funding has historically focused on film primarily. However, we used the strategy development process to engage with television, video games and interactive and immersive sectors too. This has helped us to understand the role that National Lottery funding may play as screen culture continues to evolve.