Assessment. Objective manner, firmly enforced no one but candidate to speak in interview no extraneous information Businesslike, professional attitude Clarifying at beginning of interview assessor’s role in process, and areas for discussion Offering reassurance, supportive
Objective manner, firmly enforced
no one but candidate to speak in interview
no extraneous information
Businesslike, professional attitude
Clarifying at beginning of interview assessors role in process, and areas for discussion
Offering reassurance, supportive
Demonstrating understanding of project aims and knowledge of specifics of application
The good thing from our last one that we were refused on was that we actually got the feedback. Wed got feedback from the meeting, we got feedback on the form, we actually knew why wed failed and we also got the advice on the end of the letter to say, if you wanted, it was about the budget, if you wanted to rejig the budget and re-submit, wed be happy to receive that. So we were then in a position where we could telephone the office and say, can you just remind us. The girl, I have to say, was very careful in what she said to us, because she couldnt advise us, but when I put to her what I thought were the problems, the potential problems with the budget, she said, I can remember those, so she was giving me clear clues that that was the problem. So I think giving feedback like that was much, much more useful and getting the encouragement to try again. Now, whether thats given us false hope remains to be seen I guess, thats when well get the answer.
It needs to be individual feedback and it needs to be in detail. Even if its just a verbal conversation over the phone or something, but you need to know the reasons, because there are also being times when... theres common reasons why peoples applications fail. And thats not actually any use.
I think looking at other charities, Comic Relief have a system where you put in an outline bid so youre not investing huge amounts of time putting everything down, then you find out whether youre going to be invited to go further than that and that is useful. You feel more cheesed off when you put in that amount of time, done 27 pages worth of application and you get the no.
Its ridiculous that theres no process whereby you can submit something fairly simple, which youre then told this is worth pursuing or not pursuing, which other organisations do, you know, theyll take an initial idea and tell you. It seems to me from other people Ive seen here that theyre not finding out that the project fits the criteria until the very end of the process, which is ridiculous.
If youve got an outline of a scheme and we dont know what criteria you were judging the validity of the scheme, then it would just be something if it said well, if you persist with that scheme, then it wont come within our criteria. It would then stop a lot of people spending huge amounts of time, putting larger bids together, if they knew from the outset that it wouldnt comply. But if there was an element that wouldnt comply, it would just be a waste. And I think my concern is if you did the two-tier system, and I can see the benefits of it for sure, I do think it might raise your hopes more. If somebody said, oh yes, your project fits the criteria, I think youd actually think, oh, well, were halfway there now, and thats not going to be the case, is it?
I think the flip side of the coin is that you would find an awful lot more people would just throw out ideas anyway and, you know, throw out the bombs to see if anyone is interested because it just has to be worth a try. You know, its only a couple of hours of my time, and you know 80% of them probably wont get through. Thats effectively your problem, not ours.
On a small couple of sides of A4 preliminary application, perhaps you wouldnt get a detailed - you would only get knowledge of whether, okay, thats a statutory responsibility, chuck it out. Thats all you would get. You would be told, yes, its a good idea because of the broad themes, then go away and build it up to be knocked down again. And it does put a lot of pressure on an assessor to make an assessment on a very limited amount of information, as it does on the person applying, trying to get what they say in thirty pages worth of application down to two sides of A4.
Would allow NLCB to save time processing applications which fail to meet criteria
Freeing up assessors to devote more attention to detail of applications which do
My first thoughts about the pack were very positive actually, because there was lots of information to guide you through, it was very clearly written, there wasnt waffle, it wasnt complicated. Someone had obviously worked very hard on plain English to get it across, and put it into neat little paragraphs, and the manner it was presented in was very good.
I like the approach of using the colour coding on the different pages. Maybe that they can build on that. If the contents were just very initial paragraphs or something, before people get stuck into the detail - youll find yellow pages are useful background information and help you make your application. The white ones are all essential to you, read them all as well, you can interlink them.
We saw there was so much information you have to put in it and there wasnt enough space to put it all in. It was like, what do you put in and what do you leave out, because we felt like there wasnt enough room to put in all the information that needed to be put in and it was a case of deciphering what was more important. A guy at work ended up kind of writing it in for me on the actual form.
Im dyslexic, and if I cant use the PC Im very, very insecure, so I couldnt have handwritten on it, I mean when we did the subsequent ones I actually cut and pasted them, so I was fine, but the original one I did I had to get one of the Trustees actually to do the writing.
We looked through it, and the first thing I noticed was how am I going to physically fit all the information into this. My manager writes tiny, me personally I have bigger handwriting, so we decided it was him who actually physically wrote it, we decided it was him just because he writes really small.
I cant type it in, because its in a book, therefore you have to do it in manuscript, and my writings awfully untidy. I know there are other ways, and Ive discovered better ways of doing it by typing it and then sticking it in, but I just feel that the form takes away from the image of your project if you do that. Are there no plans to have it on disk? It would be much easier to have this on disk and then just fill in your answer and print it.
The other thing I think we found difficult and very time consuming is filling out the application form just because its not supplied on disk. So, consequently we have to type it all out and then paste it down. It took us twelve hours just to do that.
My abiding memory of it is just scissors and bits of sticky paper. Is it not possible to have fixed headings on a read only thing, on a basis that we cant change, points, perhaps they are not used to maximum size, at the moment, you get these size boxes and if you do come across a descriptive, you look at them and say, oh, theyre expecting me to say that much, then you think of more to say and it doesnt tally. So you think Im obviously trying to say too much, Id better think of less.
Demand for electronic version of form as soon as possible
In the big one, we felt that they just asked questions over and over again at different times, they are repeating, and Im sorry, but we felt they were trying to catch you out in the big one, and you had to watch what you were doing... very daunting, we felt that we were repeating and repeating ourselves.Group 1
I actually think the reason it seems to repeat itself is that youre actually trying to educate us within our projects, so that we know it inside out. Thats the feeling Ive got after filling it in for the third time. Its such an educational process, so that when the assessor does finally come out, youll know it inside out. Thats what I felt.
C8 - C13
It was difficult for us to look at different funders, because were not a registered charity and some funders just wont fund us because of that, and weve been looking - previously we hadnt applied to the Lottery, because were kind of parented by the NCH which is a Methodist organisation, so people were saying, oh, no, you really shouldnt be applying to the Lottery, but we were saying, hang on, were not an NCH project. Im quite happy to apply to the Lottery because considering that were faced with either that or not being in existence at all, that was how we came to apply.
In terms of contacts, I was contacted at home one evening. I have three small children, and they contacted me at home at 6 oclock straight after tea-time, when Im trying to get them ready for bed and for me, work is work and stays at work. I really try to leave my work at work and not take it home with me, now I had my twelve month old on my legs and I had my three year old trying to climb on my back, and Im on the phone to someone from the Lottery Board, do you know what I mean? Its not, it wasnt a time for me to put my professional hat on, I was at home and I was being, I had my mother hat on, so for me, I think if its about work, call at work.
For the first one, I had a very long phone call from the independent assessor one Sunday lunchtime, when I hadnt got the papers in front of me, to actually give some feedback onto, you know, what my bid was about and I just had to go from memory. And I actually felt that went quite well, but we got turned down. Sunday lunchtime, it was. Not ideal.
One thing I must bring up. I am slightly surprised by the need to give a home address and telephone number. Not that Im worried necessarily about confidentiality, its just I think I tend to sign off when I go, and Im certainly not going to be in the best frame of mind to really answer any questions about it.
(i) their belief that some applications to one programme stand a better chance than another
(ii) their frustration at having to categorise their project according to NLCBs own systems and procedures
No problems with these pages
All organisations able to identify appropriate personnel for this section with no difficulty
P2 - P3
I think A4 and A5... I think its a bit like a court case, they shouldnt tell you your convictions. You know, before the case has been tried. It should be more that this document stands on its own. And only at a later date should they be saying, well, weve given them a grant already, which they must be able to draw from a computer somehow or other. So I think A4 shouldnt be there, and the bit just under the box Im not sure about either, its rather a different question to A4. And A5 I definitely dont think should be asked. If this is something which is being evaluated, the person who evaluates should go in with a completely open mind.
Other applications - A4 & A5
(i) the entire organisation, if NLCB funding is the source of funds for the project team
(ii) the specific activity funded within the larger organisation by NLCB if team already existing beforehand
the issue of project continuation or development can therefore be confused - further clarification, with precise definitions, would be welcomed
Theres no space at B3, I mean they acknowledge you can put extra sheets in, the sheets go at the back and one thing we were told when we rang Leeds to try and make it easier for people that are going to read it, now if you need something as large as that why cant you have this as a blank space.
Another one I had a slight thing about was B4. Asking about the people involved in your organisation. Because really I think its totally ludicrous really. Many others must be. Welsh speakers, or Welsh males, female, disabled, non-disabled, under 26, over 26, white, Chinese, African, Bangladeshi. I mean, what a nonsense, isnt it, really. I mean why dont you just say, please describe the staff that you employ, because we are intelligent people and we can actually answer. This is highly patronising in my view.
We looked at the different... to actually show that our area was in an area of disadvantage and deprivation, its the area where the main focus of the bid was going, why are you looking after these young people as against any other young people, so of course we felt that we had to prove effectively that we werent just saying it, it comes back to writing from the heart, we could have just said, and this is truthful, this is a highly deprived and disadvantaged area, full stop. But you cant just say, we felt that anybody could just say that, you have to prove it.
Gosh, B9, this was hard. I think it was very easy to misunderstand the question. I know we did that because we gave the same answer as I think, as C3, whereas actually the explanation is - its actually the organisation its talking about here, not the project.
Without the guiding notes we really would have been stuck at B9. It would never have occurred to me to have put access to the building or anything, simply because our clients never come to see us.
Question B9 we thought quite inappropriate really. I remember it. Are the people on your management committee so and so. If youre looking for disabilities with children, or people with mental health problems, its quite difficult to actually involve them within it, and I thought that was quite inappropriate for many organisations. We have two users on our Committee, and we have to be so careful with them, really treat them with kid gloves, but we cant really expect them to make any major decisions because it would just upset them too much. So I think we had to explain were a user-led organisation and not that this is the way we went forward, fill in our aims and objectives and our mission statement as well, so - we found it difficult.
The community these days, it depends upon your client. In the case of physically disabled people, which is our main concern, they dont like to be thought of as a community, in fact its the last thing they want to be. They want to be thought of as part and parcel of the community like everyone else. But this is suggesting that there is some special community, like in some way disabled or whatever.
One of the most daunting aspects of the main application was providing the question, what kind of demand we have for the services, and we only had a sort of very small snap shot or a very small part of the community, so using that as an indication and various bits of other information which the social work department resources supplied us with, population, and age groups within the population and people living alone, and so on, we were able to make an estimate, but an estimate wasnt good enough, we have to have evidence of demand and how many people would actually do this and that, and that was the difficult thing.
I didnt understand why we had to fill this in. Going back to your thing about the two separate sheets inside, I mean its either one or the other for both applications, why is there a page for community involvement and a page for poverty and disadvantage? Similarly elsewhere in the form I mean where its quite clear that certain things fit into the poverty and disadvantage application better than they do into the community involvement, and for the sake of making this application form a little bit bigger, it would certainly make it easier.
With C4, its only the project criteria, and then you have the make the rest of your whole application fit that one criteria. When youre talking about what others say, what benefits a community, a cross county for a neighbourhood watch set up everywhere, it says, does the project help people work together for the benefit of the community, so yes, the project did, then perhaps people would become more involved in the community. The project supplies support for all of the voluntary organisations. The voluntary and community centre and it would have done that as well. And yet to have to try and parcel the whole thing up into just one of these criteria, when in fact with an awful lot of community involvement programmes, it runs across a whole lot of them. I really have difficulty understanding that. That any community programme at all can probably fit neatly into one of those boxes.
Im trying to find some safe middle ground, because I dont want to misrepresent my project that weve got on offer, but I do want to get it past the Lottery and get the funding for it, because of how important it is.
It was actually this one which I in particular found difficult, fitting in the criteria, because my project was 50/50, completely 50/50, so I just left it blank and told them to make their mind up, which is what they did. I had to.
In our case this time it was quite obvious where it should go - it was obviously for the community, but for the other one we did, the poverty, that could easily have fitted into either. But we thought wed already tried the community, so wed try the poverty. If youre applying for the poverty programme, you obviously just emphasise the poverty more, but I could easily have written it for the community, and emphasised the community more. It would have made little difference I think.
C4 - most contentious question in the application, regarded as the most important
Its this question, why do they want to know socio-economic groupings and all the rest of it, and whether theyre single parents or not? Is that purely for statistics or does that swing some kind of bias in terms of whether or not an application is successful or not?
If thats there for their statistical purposes, then it should be on a separate equal opportunities form at the back, that they can then use for their own monitoring purposes, and not pointing up here, because it worries people. They think youre going to hit the criteria. I could easily have ticked eleven of these boxes for the people we work with.
I sort of ticked that and thought, if youre white, middle-class, ordinary people, you know, you dont stand a chance of getting Lottery money. You know, its really so frustrating. Why dont they put it at the end or something, but being stuck right in the middle of the form, you cant help but feel it has some significance. I think this is one of the problems that we might be coming to later on. I also feel that we fall between two stools in a lot of ways, because we cover a broad range of client groups. The Lottery only seemed to want us to go for one specific client group.
Well, weve all seen it. Surely when weve all read the newspapers and see where the bids have gone, you know, if youre one of the minority groups, if youre ethnic minority or gay or lesbian or whatever, thats where you see a lot of the money always going to... now thats laudable of course, but thats not the only sort of organisation thats needing money. I think we can all think of examples of where monies has gone where you thought, why?
There is one area where it said you could tick a box for which group would actually benefit from your grant, and it was like a trick question, you could actually tick three groups. And we could actually tick every one, and I thought if I ticked the wrong three - I thought that was a bit of a trick question.
I found this quite offensive actually. People with mental health actually have no boundaries, its not a matter of being green, white, red.
Some other people who are involved in our services, for example, would have much too much in their head to be in a focus group, so the focus group is actually an external group whats not involved with the service. The young people that we work with tell us that thats what were employed for, they dont want to be involved in the Steering Group and stuff like that, thats what were there for, they say, they say were there to do all the boring, crappy bits they dont actually want to do.
If we do individual pieces of work, like were running a big conference, then young people are involved in the focus of that conference is going to be, whos going to run it, whos going to organise which bits, but in terms of the overall management of the project they dont actually want to be involved in that.
Homeless people, and anyone will tell you this - there are all sorts of reasons why people are homeless, but one of their common denominators is as soon as you house them they lose interest in their situation almost immediately.
I think the important thing is... I think youve got to measure somehow, some kind of feedback and I can actually see exactly why theyre asking those questions. It might seem to us a bit tricky, and I suspect you can never really measure the fact, but I can see why you should have some sort of indicators. I think what theyre driving at is that theyre trying to get a bit of feedback, ensuring that youre using these resources to feed back.
C19, on the cash flow, could we have some extra lines please on there. Where we do the housekeeping, some extra lines would be nice.
Information about posts
When youre applying on the poverty programme, there are questions on volunteering, which is really associated with the community programme. And what do you do? You have to answer it, you cant just leave it blank, because they dont like that, they said at the workshops they dont like people leaving any blanks. So you just have to put a volunteer in, even if you dont want one. Its just a bit daft really.
We felt that this was a bit of double jeopardy here. We were hoping that, if by having three years Lottery funding we could get going and we could then provide that service and also provide ourselves with statistics that it was a viable service, and then we could take it to perhaps more statutory agencies and get extra funding from there. But if you put that in there, the questions going to come back from the Lotteries group, well, why dont you go to statutory agencies now and get funding for it.
We used the exit strategy and said we would be winding down the project anyway towards the volunteers. It was heading towards the volunteers taking over and that we would actually assist them and we said if it didnt head towards that then the project would cease. The trouble then is, if in three years time you decide you do actually want more funding from them, having said you were going to wind it down like that, what do you do?
One question I found really daunting when I was filling this in, which is at the end now. How are you going to wind down the project when the grant finishes? Now, you know if you have a salary in your grant, what do you say? I just didnt know what they wanted to hear at that point. Obviously if you have a salary then whoever is doing the job like this is probably going to want to continue when the grant finishes, but you cant assume that theyre going to just carry on funding it. What do you say? The whole projects going to finish and thats it? Or that were desperately searching for more funding, because we havent thought ahead five years. I really didnt know what they wanted to hear, so I just left that one very brief.
P25 - P28