and RHYS WILLIAMS
As the National Lottery Charities Board allocated its first pounds 40m to organisations fighting poverty this week, the credentials of its members came under scrutiny. Who is qualified to decide which causes should benefit from lottery money, while others flounder?
The charities board has 21 members representing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, picked by ministers from industry, academia and charities.
The board is led by David Sieff, a director of Marks & Spencer, who is a lover of horse-racing, a member of the council for industry of the Prince's Youth Business Trust, and chairman of Racing Welfare Charities. Mr Sieff, who will be paid for one day's work a week from a salary range of up to pounds 55,000 a year, is supported by a team of sub-chairmen, who will also receive some payment and non-paid members recommended by the voluntary sector. Among the most recent recruits to the board is Stella Clarke, a JP and deputy lieutenant of Avon and chairman of council of Bristol University, who has been involved in social housing. She was asked to join the board by Baroness Blatch, a Home Office minister.
The board is given recommendations from regional advisory panels of volunteers. They are co-ordinated by salaried regional managers and their reports are based on the findings of a team of more than 100 freelance assessors.
The system was defended by Sir Adam Ridley, another member of the charities board's UK committee, a board member of Hambros Bank; former special adviser to the Chancellor and member for the Council of Charitable Support. Sir Adam said the board's philosophy was to make a difference.
When charities apply to the National Lottery Charities Board for grants, they are asked to bear firmly in mind the criteria that the board's assessors will use when considering awards. According to the board's guidelines issued to applicants, assessment criteria fall into four categories - policy, potential achievements, management and long-term viability.
First, applicants are asked to consider whether their initiatives fit with the board's policy priorities. The initial round of handouts now and in December will concentrate on schemes tackling poverty. Assessors will then evaluate the degree to which the charity's proposed activity: involve users and beneficiaries in its development and management, encourages community participation, and fosters self-help or improvement.
The board also considers how well-planned the proposal is. Applicants must demonstrate that any scheme is well-managed and financially sound, well-planned and staffed appropriately, cost-effective and good value for money, committed to equal opportunities, and able to involve volunteers.
Other members of the National Lottery Charities Board
Tessa Baring: chairman of the Association of Charitable Foundations, a part-time Charity Commissioner and trustee of Barnardo's.
Amir Bhatia: Charity work with ethnic minority groups, the unemployed, hospices, and an Oxfam trustee.
Graham Bowie: Former chief executive of Lothian Regional Council; involved in voluntary work with people with HIV and Aids.
Ian Clarke: Retired agent of the Bank of England; council member of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne; non-executive director of a hospital trust.
June Churchman: vice-president of the Guide Association, Wales Voluntary Youth Services: and vice-chairman of the Wales Association of Women, Clywd branch.
Alan Higgins: Retired teacher and HM Inspector of Schools: chairman of the Welsh Association of Youth Clubs, and works with Voluntary Concern.
Tom Jones: Wales and UK: Farmer, a member of the Countryside Council for Wales and the Agricultural Training board;
Amanda Jordan: Senior executive, National Westminster Bank, and chairman of Natwest Charitable Trust.
Julia Kaufmann: Director of BBC Children in Need Appeal, works with the Association of Charitable Foundations, and Gingerbread.
William Kirkpatrick: Main career in finance, a member of Gaming Board and a former JP.
Philomena de Lima: Psychology lecturer, community development projects.
Aideen McGinley: Rural and community development work.
Monica McWilliams: Lecturer in social and community sciences, works with youth and women's organisations.
Andrew Phillips: Solicitor specialising in charity law.
Linda Quinn: Expert on drug misuse, works in prisons.
John Simpson: Political adviser on job creation, economics lecturer, probation work.
Noel Stewart: Chartered accountant, hospital trust chairman, honorary treasurer at Queen's University in Belfast.
Chris Woodcock: Head of corporate affairs, Kellogg's; member of a community development trust.