Representatives of the DTI’s flagship Partnership Fund have defended the allocation of funds by its independent assessment committee.
A letter to Personnel Today (4 April) drew attention to the fact that committee chairman Willie Coupar was also a director of the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA), which has been awarded a grant.
But both the DTI and a committee member have defended the selection criteria for awarding funds. A spokeswoman for the DTI said that if there was a conflict of interest involving a member of the assessment panel, that member would take no part in the decision concerned.
Usdaw and the TUC have also had bids accepted for grants from the Partnership Fund. Both organisations have representatives on the panel.
Writing to Personnel Today, committee member Clive Morton said an unjustified conclusion had been drawn about the IPA award.
"Its criteria and method of working is in the public domain and if any member has a personal connection, they automatically withdraw, as did Willy Coupar," he said.
The fund is intended to encourage good employment relations and partnerships at work. Available funds total £5m and the committee can recommend awards of up to £50,00 a project.