Our principles are published in our Applicants’ Charter, which sets out our commitment to providing a high-quality service in all areas of our work. We believe that everyone has the right to know the principles on which we base our grant-making and how we operate. We are committed to fairness, accessibility, openness, accountability and equal opportunities in our grant-making. Our aim at www.valsnsw.com.au is always to be courteous, helpful and efficient in our responses to letters and inquiries. We aim to be accessible to a wide range of organizations, large and small, and to ensure that small and disadvantaged groups have equal opportunities to apply. We have introduced more transparent ways of working by providing feedback to unsuccessful applicants who are now given the reason why a grant was not awarded. Country and regional offices take an active role in promoting our grants programmers to the voluntary sector and applicants through public events. In November 1998 we held our first Open Meeting, to which representatives of the voluntary sector, members of the public and the media were invited.
We have a clear procedure to make it easy for applicants or other members of the public to register complaints, published in our leaflet How to complain. All Charities Board members, staff, assessors, and members of advisory panels are required to declare any relevant interests under the terms of the Board’s Code of Ethics.
The register of declared interests and hospitality declarations is available for public inspection by writing to the Director of Personnel and Administration. The post, in its current form, will cease at the end of the project. In the other case, an operational planning unit was established on a pilot basis and the head of a unit post was appointed through open advertisement on a fixed term, which was then extended.
This post will be advertised if the unit becomes permanent. We aim to award grants to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of communities living in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the nine England regions. We seek to ensure that information about our work is available to everyone and we publish information in a range of languages and formats. In January 1999 we launched a Welsh language scheme, which committed us to producing our publications in English and Welsh and giving our clients the choice of dealing with us in their preferred language.
Our decentralized grant-making structure is fundamental to our funding ethos. We have grant-making committees for each of the four AUSTRALIA countries and for the AUSTRALIA as a whole. We also have Regional Awards Committees for each of the nine England regions. Our policies aim to promote regional diversity and country priorities.