Examination of Witnesses(Questions 1180-1199)|
THURSDAY 12 DECEMBER 2002
(Mr Freeney) Yes. The regional managers meet and discuss
this at their meetings. We have shared good practice in terms
of what we do and we learn from one another in terms of how we
randomly select people. There is no hard and fast rule.
1181. How many regions select by lot?
(Mr Freeney) Nine in the north west and then there
is Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
1182. They all use the same method as you?
(Mr Freeney) Yes. They use the electoral role.
1183. Are you still holding your committee in
(Mr Freeney) No. We do not have the decision making
committee in public in the north west. One of two of my colleagues
have tried out public meetings but not full decisions. The reason
is that we deal with some very sensitive applications for sensitive
grants. Domestic violence is a very clear one. To protect those
people we do not make decisions in public, but we have had meetings
in public in some of our regions to date and we are looking to
see whether we should continue that.
1184. When Martin and Linda leave the committee,
is there any interview or ways in which you might suggest improving
the work of the committee?
(Mr Freeney) I hope so. Martin and Linda do not come
to my region but I would hope the committee manager would meet
with them and learn through almost an evaluation of what they
have contributed, what they have learned, what mistakes we have
made and so on. One of the good things about our committees is
they are contributing all the time. It is an aspect that your
Committee may need to consider at some point. For example, we
are encouraging our committees to be more and more involved with
grants, visiting and so on. We come across a whole area of police
checks and so on. That is an area that we are now having to look
at because we have committee members becoming involved in a much
greater way. We have 17 areas in the north east where the Secretary
of State initiated Fair Shares and six of those are owned by each
committee member. The committee member will be visiting those
areas. We are looking at all the aspects and implications of that.
1185. Martin, how many charitable trusts are
you a member of?
(Mr Wainwright) Two.
1186. Have they ever received a lottery award?
(Mr Wainwright) No.
1187. Have they ever asked for one?
(Mr Wainwright) No. Sorry; three.
1188. What is the third?
(Mr Wainwright) It is an old Leeds charity which gives
1189. What happens if somebody is a member of
something and they feel the lottery may look at supporting them?
How do they get round that?
(Mr Wainwright) There is an absolute rule about that.
1190. If Martin wanted to get something for
the River Medway Yachting Club, he would not be allowed to?
(Mr Gray) I would not take part in the discussion.
(Ms Parkinson) You have to declare as soon as you
get your portfolio. You quickly look through to make sure that
anything you are involved in is not in that portfolio.
(Ms Paraskeva) There certainly were in my day rules
about your involvement in putting in the application. We disqualified
applications where a member of the committee had been involved
in the construction of that application because that was demonstrably
(Mr Wainwright) We lost an appointed committee member
because he had done something wrong, unwittingly.
1191. There is a very set procedure?
(Mr Freeney) When a member joins, they do a conflict
of interest form and that is registered with us. When we do an
assessment of a grant, it will pop up in our computer system that
a member has that. If he or she does not declare it at the meeting,
I will know and say, "I am sorry; you do have a conflict
of interest in this particular case."
1192. What about just living in an area? Is
that a conflict of interest?
(Mr Freeney) No. There are strict guidelines on what
a conflict of interest is.
(Mr Wainwright) With regard to the point made earlier,
this woman did play quite an important role in what was called
Brass for Barnsley, which was the experiment that led to Fair
Shares, which is an extremely good thing, because it was an analysis
of where the charities board was not hitting and an attempt to
rectify that with Barnsley taken as the pilot project. She was
not appointed for that reason but Amanda got involved way beyond
just the committee meetings. We went to all sorts of places touting
basically for people to put in applications in Barnsley because
Barnsley was hopelessly under-applied.
1193. Under £5,000, it goes through a fairly
low level committee. Over 5,000 is a recommendation. Is that right?
(Mr Wainwright) The grants all go through the staff
and the committee then performs an overseeing role. There was
then no way that committee members punted individually for things.
You had a more hands off role.
1194. If it is a sensitive case, you would obviously
not want to discuss it in an open forum. One person says, "I
am totally anti this." How do you get round that? Is it a
(Ms Paraskeva) When we set up the system in the first
place, we knew that we would have groups of people whose views
would be very subjective. We knew also that we would be inundated
with applications, as indeed we were. What was important was to
set up an application form set of criteria which minimised the
subjectivity of the people dealing with the grant making process.
We then had teams of assessors and staff who applied the criteria
to the application and gave a score. You can never completely
eliminate subjectivity but I think it minimised it. Some people
said it was too mechanical, but the mechanisation process did
mean that those applications had a high enough score in each of
the categories that they needed a score and they floated to the
top. We had a computer system that sorted those. It was only therefore
the applications that got a high enough score on a whole range
of different accounts that the committee saw as recommended. That
was done very publicly.
1195. There has been comment in certain newspapers
that lottery money has gone to causes that it should not have
gone to. Do you think there is a case where it gets to the stage
where public opinion is feeling this is not something we should
be looking at or it grows through the press so it gets to the
stage where people are saying, "We are not sure about this."
There is no mechanism for you to go back on that and say, "Perhaps
the next time we should stop this." Linda could be asked
to make a decision on something which may later be regretted in
(Ms Paraskeva) There is one criterion we never made
very clear to the public. If an organisation has more than a year's
worth of its expenditure in reserves, it was not in need of that
money to do the project it had applied for. Given that we were
so inundated with applications, there had to be some basic rule
about the need for the money to do the work. There were lots of
organisations that were in desperate need of cash and, without
going into any of the detail, what the public are much less aware
of than we have responsibility to help them with was which of
the charitable organisations applying to us were in real need
of the cash to do the work in the community and which could have
drawn on their own reserves to do the work if they thought it
was that important.
1196. Have you ever been in a position where
you felt there was something you were not quite so sure about?
(Mr Gray) Yes. That is one of the advantages of having
been chosen by lot. My background is totally divorced from charity.
I am in the minority on the committee. The majority of people
on the committee have a background associated with charity. I
can give a totally fresh, unbiased view upon any need that is
presented to me. There are cases where there are margins, where
it is not too clear and I can make a comment. Then there is a
vote so the outcome of that vote may or may not be affected by
1197. Is there anything where you felt as a
lay member, "I am going to go the wall on this"?
(Mr Gray) Yes. There have been things I have disagreed
with. Hopefully, I have been able to make that clear.
1198. Would you say to people, "You have
got to have the guts to say `stop'"?
(Mr Gray) You have to be prepared to be the odd one
out and make your view clear.
1199. Do you agree?
(Ms Parkinson) Yes. That has happened to me. I put
over my point of view and we had to go over all the paperwork
again but they still could not quite convince me so I had to be
satisfied that the majority was right. I was not happy with it
but I put my view and, like any committee, you have to accept
that you have failed on that particular one.
3 The trustee must leave the meeting and play no part
in the discussion or anything relating to the application. Back