Thursday, 14 July 2011

Oh dear ACE

Interesting news from the Arts Coucil that 66 applications for funding in the March round were the victims of computer error when documents that formed part of the applications were not uploaded to the assessors. Some of you may recall that back then I mentioned that I believed we had suffered such an error although I don't know if we are included in the 66.
My suspicion is that 66 is a hell of a lot more than that.

To recap, we had applied for funding of our growing and brilliant Inspire Project. The ACE have five core criteria of which applicants should meet at least two. At worst, we met four of the five and at best, all of them. Because of the success of the project and because of plenty of match funding from donors, we felt it had a strong chance. When the assessor's report refusing the application arrived I was pretty flabbergasted to find that a great many of the reasons given for refusing the funding were attached to what were called "failures to provide information". This missing information included things like feedback, evidence of participation, of service user profiles etc.

Stunned, I called the assessor and expressed my surprise that she had obviously missed the very substantial annual report for the project that I had included with our application and which featured the data she required and much more besides. After a moment of perplexed silence (I swear I could hear her gulp) at the other end of the phone, she said she would call me back. Some time passed and she telephoned to insist that the document had not been uploaded. She added that in any case, it wouldn't have made a difference. I commented that having said the missing information was the reason for refusal, I found it surprising that HAD it been provided, we would still have been refused!

And that was that.

The news this morning will no doubt stir up much protest and the general approach from the ACE appears to be that none of this missing data would make any difference. A truly breathtaking statement in the circumstances.

One good thing comes out of it - my colleagues who probably thought I had mucked up the application can think again!

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