Memorandum by The Community Fund (PAP
1. The Community Fund is pleased to respond
to the important consultation being undertaken by the Public Administration
Select Committee (PASC). We do not propose to respond to questions
where we have no expertise and have confined our response to questions,
which are relevant to our organisation.
2. The Community Fund (whose legal name is National
Lottery Charities Board) is an Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB),
set up under the National Lottery etc Act 1993. Our sponsor department
is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Community
Fund is one of the good cause distribution bodies set up under
the lottery legislation whose remit is to make grants to charities
and other eligible philanthropic and benevolent bodies. Currently
we receive 4.7 pence in the pound from every lottery ticket purchased
resulting in an annual income of just under £300 million
3. The Board of the Community Fund consists
of seventeen appointed members, including a Chair and Deputy Chair.
Thirteen Board Members also sit on our Wales, Scotland, Northern
Ireland and England Committees. All Board Members are appointed
by the DCMS and for those appointments to the Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland Committees, the Secretary of State consults
the devolved administrations.
4. In 1998, the Community Fund was given
powers to devolve its grant making beyond the four Country Committees
envisaged in the original legislation and, as a result, there
are now nine Regional Committees for England, each consisting
of ten members drawn from the individual regions. The Community
Fund itself recruits and appoints the Chairs of these nine Regional
Committees and the nine other members as well as recruiting three
co-opted Committee members each for the Scotland, Wales and Northern
5. The main area of interest for the Community
Fund in the PASC enquiry is the way in which Board Members are
recruited when vacancies occur.
6. We consider that the present system is
far from satisfactory. At present, and we do not know if this
system will change, DCMS normally only advertises for the Chair
and sometimes the Deputy Chair posts although from time to time
there is a generic advertisement either for its NDPBs generally,
or in the case of the Community Fund some two years ago, for Board
appointments within the Community Fund. Otherwise shortlists are
drawn up based on the DCMS's own list and that of the Public Appointments
Unit. Usually interviews are conducted only for the Chair and
Deputy Chair appointments. Other members are selected on the basis
of their CV and the application form by, admittedly, a panel,
normally of three people, one of whom is usually independent.
7. The Board of the Community Fund favours
a transparent process including advertising, transparent longlisting
and shortlisting, and interviews before appointments are made.
This is not only to ensure consistency with the way in which co-opted
Committee members and Regional Committee members are recruited
and appointed but also to ensure that those interested in becoming
Board Members have the necessary skills, experience and knowledge
now required. We have person and job descriptions for all our
8. Board Members are generally appointed
for up to three years and can serve for a second term of up to
three years without the need for formal re-application, although
the Community Fund is putting an appraisal process in place so
as to assist the Secretary of State on reappointment decisions
after three years. Vacancies may arise from time to time if individual
Board Members resign because of pressures of work or other reasons.
9. Generally speaking the Chair of the Board
has not been much consulted about who is likely to be appointed,
although we welcome a recent change in procedure for a current
vacancy on the Board. We have asked that the next member of the
Board should be the Chair of the London Regional Committee and
the Department has agreed that the Board Chair will be able to
interview a shortlist of candidates provided by the Department
and to give advice to the Secretary of State before an appointment
10. Although we understand the enormous
pressures DCMS faces with having to make appointments to nearly
seventy different NDPBs we none the less have pressed for a more
open and transparent process based on best practice and best equal
11. As far as those appointments are concerned
for which the Community Fund is responsible, all vacancies to
co-opted places on the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Committees
and all the Chairmanships and places on the England Regional Committees
are advertised openly and recruitment takes place through application,
shortlisting and interview involving members of either the relevant
Country Committee or the relevant Regional Committee and, where
appropriate, the Chair of the Board interviews. In addition, the
Community Fund has developed an approach to encouraging more members
of the public in England to consider themselves for appointment
to a regional Committee where they might not otherwise have done
12. This system of "appointment by
lot" sees one or two places on each of the nine regional
Committees in England filled on a different basis. (See also attached
background note at Annex to this paper.) A number is chosen at
random and individuals on the electoral role in particular parts
of the region concerned from which representation is needed are
then approached to see if they are interested in becoming a member
of the Committee. Those who are interested are then interviewed
and, if appointed, given appropriate support to become full and
active members of the Committee. This process has been successful
in bringing in a number of people who would not otherwise have
considered public service, even though in some cases it has been
hard for them to balance the competing demands of time required
to carry out Community Fund duties with their other work and/or
home commitments. The Community Fund intends to continue using
this scheme for its Regional Committees.
13. To that extent, the Community Fund would
support those who serve on public bodies being given proper time
off for public duties on the basis of realistic estimates of what
may be involved. The question of whether this should be remunerated
needs to be considered as well as practice differs from one non-departmental
public body to another.
14. Some clarity and consistency of approach
is important to ensure that there is proper diversity in public
appointments. There is no reason to assume that greater diversity
should mean that merit is not the foremost factor in appointment.
The point is to ensure that people from different ethnic backgrounds,
age groups, disabled members of the population, both women and
men, can put themselves forward for public office, and should
be encouraged to do so.
15. The questions posed by the Select Committee
suggests that election might be an alternative to an appointment.
The Community Fund considers that clear and transparent appointment
processes work provided the means of application, shortlisting
and eventual appointment by the Secretary of State are clear and
that the body for which an individual is being considered has
the opportunity to be involved in the process and comment appropriately.
The principle to be followed is that those appointed should have
the skills and experience required to match a job description
and person specification for the vacancy concerned. The Board
is not clear on how any alternative election process would work
and whether this would result in a better field of candidates
with the relevant experience. The question arises about who would
form the electorate and on what basis choices would be made.
16. The Community Fund considers that the
Commissioner for Public Appointments has a useful and important
role to play here in setting a framework against which individual
public bodies can handle more of their own appointments where
these do not need to be Secretary of State appointments. It is
doubtful that there is wide public understanding of the Commissioner's
role and the Code of Practice, which applies at the moment.
17. In short, the Community Fund favours
open and transparent application and appointments processes to
its own vacancies within a clearly understood framework which
should apply both to appointments the Community Fund makes itself
as well as those made to the main Board by the Secretary of State.
Community Fund's appointment "by
The appointment by lot scheme was piloted in
1998-99 in the Community Fund's London and Yorkshire and Humber
Regional Committees to fill two places with "ordinary"
people. The then Chair of the Regional Committee, Martin Wainwright,
had advocated the idea in a pamphlet "It should be You"
published in early 1998 (copy enclosed).
The 1999 review of this pilot exercise distinguished
four main objectives:
To gain credibility for decision
making by drawing on a wider range of views and being close to
To reaffirm the Board's commitment
to transparency in the process of selecting decision makers.
To broaden the knowledge base and
range of views potentially available on a Regional Committee by
securing the involvement of a more representative cross-section
To engender (or possibly revive)
greater participation in public affairs by individual citizens
and enhance civic responsibility generally.
The scheme was subsequently rolled out to all
the nine Regional Committees.
There are no restrictions on the people who
can be selected by this process in respect of age, gender, ethnicity,
They are required to have:
An awareness of the region.
Fairness to all branches of society.
Knowledge of equal opportunities.
The ability to be flexible.
A readiness to question.
The operation of the scheme is generally viewed
positively although the members recruited by this means generally
require considerable support, at least initially. We believe the
scheme is well regarded by politicians.
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