Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 19

Memorandum submitted by Mr Gordon Hunter

INTRODUCTION

  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.

SCORING

  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.

   
Raw
Weighted
MQS
Management and Financial Health
6
0
3
Project Management
6
0
3
Definition of Need
6
12
0
Additionality to State Services
1
0
1
Project Planning
6
6
3
Project Budget
6
6
3
Project Monitoring
6
6
3
Response to Community Need
6
6
0
Involvement of Beneficiaries
6
6
0
Management Accountability
1
0
1
Project Outcomes
1
0
1
Financial Stability
1
0
1
Financial Controls
1
0
1
Project Costing
1
0
1
Link to NLCB Objectives
1
0
1
Link to NLCB Current Programme
6
12
0
Total
61
54
22


  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.

DEFINITIONS

  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.

CONCLUSION

  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, evaluation—rather than style. In this context, the whole structure for assessing applications and allocating money should be reviewed and overhauled—just as NLCB expects the projects it funds to monitor delivery and adapt accordingly.

August 2000


 
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