Protected: Panel Members

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Training as a Panel Member

Once you’re sure you want to join as a panel member, we’ll give you further training. This will involve participation in a mock assessment panel process from the preparation through to decision making. Such a process enables you and the Foundation to be sure that this volunteering activity is right for you.

Panel Member Protocol– please print, sign and give to a SYCF staff member.

What does being a Panel Member/Assessor involve?

Level of commitment

Panel members are volunteers and we recognise that other things may have to take priority on occasion. However, the likely minimum commitment for a panel member includes attendance at their assigned panel, with preparation time prior to the meeting.

Before a panel, a pack of applications will be forwarded (either electronically or by post) to panel members. You are expected to have read through and considered these before you come to the panel. Each panel should last normally a maximum of 2 hours.

Panel members are required to confirm their attendance for each meeting. If you cannot attend a meeting then send your apologies, to the relevant fund manager, together with comments regarding the applications that are to be considered at the panel.

You must declare any interest here with a group or application, as you may be unable to vote on that application during the panel meeting. This could impact on the quorum of the meeting so it is important that you tell the fund manager beforehand.

Assessment visits

From time to time. you may be asked to visit an applicant. Sometimes applications need clarification and a fund manager or a panel may ask an appropriate member to visit and report before a decision is made.

Other roles

You could also be involved in:
• Development of grant-making policy
• Attending South Yorkshire Community Foundation activities
• Attending development meetings

Conduct of Panel Meetings

The following rules apply to the running of each panel meeting.

  • All panel members have equal voting rights at panel meetings.
  • Quorum is four-panel members.
  • *The appointment of the panel chair is a trustee or by nomination and majority vote. This is ratified by the Board of Trustees and is reviewed annually.
  • Panel meetings are held on a regular basis as agreed – times and venues will always be confirmed prior to the meeting. Towards year-end meetings may be more frequent to fulfil funder requirements.
  • A cut off time for applications for a panel will be set by the Foundation staff to allow reasonable processing time and to allow time for distribution of information to Panel members.
  • If the panel chair is unable to be present, members who are present will determine chairing responsibilities.
  • Panel members will declare if they have an interest in any grant application being submitted and will be unable to vote on that application.  They should leave the meeting whilst the application is being discussed.  Interests are set out in the Conflicts of Interest Policy which all members will have completed prior to sitting on a panel. It is the responsibility of the individual panel member to raise any concerns or questions that they may have about interests with the Chairman of the panel in advance of the meeting.
  • Every effort will be made to ensure that the panel is quorate. Panel members unable to attend a meeting send comments/opinions about a grant application to inform and support the panel decision.
  • Where a decision is not conclusive, a vote will be taken by eligible voting members. Only the decision (i.e. approved or rejected) will be minuted and not the number of those in favour/opposed to an application.
    a. Criteria for the issue of grants may be reviewed in light of experience, local issues and any legal requirements
    b. Panel decisions will be recorded accurately and relayed to applicant groups
  • Comments of individual Panel members and all reports will be treated in confidence.
  • For data protection purposes all information relating to an individual application and the organisation connected must remain confidential.
  • If any panel member is approached by an individual regarding decisions made, the individual should be referred to a Foundation representative for feedback.
  • Only appeals against the process are accepted. Appeals against a decision are not allowed (Appeals Procedure here) will not be accepted. Groups should re-submit for funding and supply additional information to support their application.
  • Lobbying of panel members will disqualify an application and the group from applying for funds in the future.
  • Expenses incurred by panel members for attending panel meetings will be reimbursed on the receipt of the appropriate claim form here.

Role of Chair of Grants Panel

To ensure process of assessment is undertaken successfully and fairly by:

  • Attending panel meeting or liaising with Deputy Chair, if unable to attend and to send comments on applications
  • Liaising with SYCF fund manager to ensure a quorum with comments if appropriate
  • Ensuring any conflicts of interests are addressed
  • Being mindful of members’ interests, expertise and local knowledge
  • Ensuring that discussion on applications is fair and equitable with all members having an opportunity to contribute
  • Drawing attention to any assessment visit report
  • Ensuring that decisions are collective and that panel members are clear as to meaning of decision
  • Facilitating resolution of any disputed decision
  • Determining with panel any conditions or required visit associated with decision
  • Signing panel report and recommendation to Board
  • Acting on any ‘Chair’s decision’ as required by the Foundation or its board
  • Representing views of panel to the Foundation
  • Attending GPC or any other committee/event for panel chairs

Assessment Process

Find out all you need to know about our assessment process here.