Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
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POLICY ADVISORY: Peer Assessment Committee Members & Commentary

ArtsNL wishes to notify potential grant program applicants of a recent update made to peer assessment committee policy. To protect the privacy of peer assessors, ArtsNL will no longer be releasing the names of assessors.

ArtsNL has not and will not make any changes to the peer assessment process itself, which will continue in practice as it always has. The participation of professional artists from within Newfoundland and Labrador as well as those based in other provinces in peer assessment, as a means of awarding public arts grants, is a unique and important cornerstone in our process.

ArtsNL has a non-disclosure agreement and conflict of interest policy that all peer assessors must agree to before receiving peer assessor packages containing applications and associated information.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Access to Information and Privacy Protection Act requires that these peer assessors agree to non-disclosure because information collected for the purposes of assessing grant applications must only be used for that purpose. Likewise, peer assessors must always recuse themselves from the assessment of any application where a conflict of interest, or even a perceived conflict of interest, may exist. These are important organizational principles that ensure the peer assessment process is respectful of applicant privacy and unbiased.

ArtsNL not only has a responsibility to applicants – it must also respect the individuals who have agreed to participate in thoughtful, balanced, and considerate peer assessment of submitted applications.

Moving to keep the identities of peer assessors private ensures that these individuals have the opportunity to speak honestly and candidly about their individual assessments during the larger committee conversation. It’s for this reason that many granting agencies and organizations across Canada also employ policy that keeps the identities of assessors private. ArtsNL has chosen to follow that precedent with the above considerations top of mind.

Peer assessor commentary is still available to grant program applicants, which is an essential and constructive aspect of the peer assessment process.

Applicants will always have the opportunity to contact program staff once grant program results are announced to request peer assessor commentary.