Memorandum submitted by Mr Gordon Hunter
I was a member of the NLCB Eastern Region Awards
Committee. I resigned after 11 months on 1 August 2000. My comments
relate to assessment methods and the priorities of giving.
The current system is derived rather than designed.
There are 16 criteria of which only seven count towards a final
score. Twelve of the 16 have a Minimum Qualification Standard
(MQS) but of the seven criteria that count, only three have a
MQS. Six criteria overlap with other criteria, which leaves 10
real criteria. Two criteria are weighted double in the final score.
|Management and Financial Health||6
|Definition of Need||6
|Additionality to State Services||1
|Response to Community Need||6
|Involvement of Beneficiaries||6
|Link to NLCB Objectives||1
|Link to NLCB Current Programme||6
It is all very confusing and should be simplified. There
should also be a roving Audit Team who should sample bid scoring
around the regions.
What are the funding priorities for competing good causes?
My experience in the East was that, given a professional
approach to bid-writing, it is easier for capital projects (especially
village halls) to get funding than it is for revenue Community
Service projects. There is not enough emphasis placed on outputs
and value for money. So, a village hall refurbishment, say, £250,000
can legitimately aim to benefit just a few local community groups.
It will score high in definition of need, clarity and attainability
of objectives and response to community need. It will, naturally,
be comfortable in financial categories as it has no extra revenue
commitments. But the wide-scale Community Service project, though
it has bigger and broader targets, will be considered less attainable
and less stable. It will score lower than a village hall rival
and miss out on funding.
Some of the assessment criteria need better guidelines: eg
the difference between "new" and "continuation"
funding; to what extent should projects prove self-sustainability
after the completion of their funding cycle.
Increasingly, European Funders, like ESF, attempt to gauge
the quality of the project rather than the bid. We should concentrate
on content: inputs, outputs, monitoring, evaluationrather
than style. In this context, the whole structure for assessing
applications and allocating money should be reviewed and overhauledjust
as NLCB expects the projects it funds to monitor delivery and