Special Purpose Fund FAQs

General FAQs

What is a Special Purpose Fund (SPF)?

Special Purpose Funds (SPFs) come from charitable donations, held by Imperial Health Charity to be used for a specific ward, department, or service at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

SPFs can be used for expenditure that is ‘over and above the usual NHS provision’ and should fit into at least one of the following charitable objects:

1. Patient welfare and amenity

2. Staff welfare and amenity

3. Clinical research

How can I access an SPF?

There may be SPFs you can use to benefit your staff and/or your patients, in line with the fund purpose. To find out if there is an SPF you can access for your funding idea, just complete our Expression of Interest Form.

We can then check the funding opportunities available and offer further guidance.

Find out more about accessing an SPF here.

Who manages SPFs?

There are two types of Special Purpose Fund:

  • Trustee Controlled SPFs – managed directly by our trustees
  • Fund Adviser SPFs – overseen by senior Trust staff (known as Fund Advisers)

Our trustees are ultimately responsible for the use of these funds. However, for Fund Adviser SPFs, we delegate day-to-day management to members of staff at the Trust.

Each Fund Adviser SPF needs a minimum of two Fund Advisers. All Fund Advisers need to have a contract of employment with the Trust.

What is the legal status of these funds, and what are the roles of the charity, the trustees, and the Fund Advisers?

The trustees’ strategic management of Imperial Health Charity is dictated by its charitable objects. These state that the charity has power to apply the funds under its control for charitable purposes relating to health services at hospitals (including research), community health or to any other part of the health service (all the above within the UK only). The charity can only use the funds for these objects. The trustees devolve the daily management of the charity’s funds to the charity’s staff, who reserve the right to:

i) prevent the withdrawal of funds which do not meet the conditions set out in these guidelines.

ii) authorise expenditure from a fund if the charity believes this to be an appropriate use of resources.

iii) cease to delegate their authority to a fund adviser if they believe the regulations in this document are not being met. In this case they may appoint an alternative Fund Adviser or take control of the funds directly themselves.

iv) amend these guidelines as and when necessary.

v) decline expenditure from the fund if it is perceived to be for tax avoidance or embezzlement of funds or any other action that may be contrary to the charity’s governance or national laws.

Once a donation has been made to Imperial Health Charity it is subject to charity governance and must be used in a timely manner in accordance with the charitable purpose of the fund. It is also non-refundable.

Who should I contact regarding SPFs?

For all SPF queries, please email specialpurposefunds@imperialcharity.org.uk

Fund Adviser FAQs

Find the answers to our most common questions from Fund Advisers here. For more details, please visit our Get support for your SPF page for our full SPF Governance Guidelines.

What type of income can be paid into my fund?

There are rules around what type of income can be paid into the SPF. It is important that any contribution to the fund does not carry conditions that fall outside the objects of the charity. For more details, please refer to page 6 of our Special Purpose Fund Governance Guidelines.

What type of expenditure can be paid out of my fund?

You can use your funds to benefit your staff and/or your patients, in line with the fund purpose. We have set guidelines on what your fund can be spent on – please refer to page 9 in our Special Purpose Fund Governance Guidelines.


How do I add or delete Fund Advisers to the fund?

Each fund requires a minimum of two Fund Advisers. To amend the details of your fund, please email specialpurposefunds@imperialcharity.org.uk. 

Where can I find the form I need?

To request certain payments, spending or changes relating to your SPF, you need to complete the relevant form.

  • If you need to claim back any personal spending from the fund, please complete our CF04 form, available on our Get Support with your SPF webpage.
  • If you need to arrange a transfer of primary traded income into a fund, in the form of a grant or donation, please email fundraising@imperialcharity.org.uk and request a Grant Request form
  • If you need to complete an EOI form to request to spend fund income on a research project, please download this from our How you could access an SPF webpage.
  • To make any amendments to fund signatories, such as adding, removing or changing Fund Advisors, please email specialpurposefunds@imperialcharity.org.uk and we can advise.
What is a fund statement?

Fund statements provide an overview of income and expenditure for each SPF as well as the overall balance of the fund. The charity is working to develop fund statements to make them easier to access and read. All Fund Advisers listed on a fund will receive fund statements – please email specialpurposefunds@imperialcharity.org.uk to inform us of any email address updates or Fund Adviser changes.

What are the fund charges?

The Charity incurs a range of costs in order to effectively administer its Special Purpose Funds. This includes costs associated with financial processing, the use of banking facilities and management charges. In addition, the Charity provides practical support to fund advisers through fundraising activities, administration, governance and reporting which are directly related to SPFs.

From 1 April 2022 the Charity will be updating its policy on fund charges by introducing a charge of 2.5% per year on the balance of each fund. This will allow the Charity to recoup a proportion of the costs necessary to effectively administer its Special Purpose Funds. The charge will be divided by 12 and applied to the fund balance as it stands at the end of each calendar month.

The charge is benchmarked against other NHS charities who administer similar funds on behalf of NHS trusts to ensure the amount we charge is fair and proportionate. The charge is subject to review on an annual basis.

You can read our fund charges policy in full here.

What happens if funds are misused?

Fund Advisers are responsible for ensuring the funds are used in accordance with the donor’s wishes and our charitable objects. There is also a duty to show a degree of independence, so fund advisers cannot receive any significant personal benefit from the funds.

The trustees reserve the right to:

  • prevent the withdrawal of funds which do not meet the purpose of the SPF or objects of the charity
  • authorise expenditure from a fund if the charity believes this to be an appropriate use of resource
  • cease to delegate authority to a Fund Adviser if the charity believes the regulations are not being met. In this case, the charity may appoint an alternative Fund Adviser or take control of the funds.

Still have questions?


If you’re a Fund Adviser, you can also check our Get support with your SPF page to find further guidance