At Friends Provident Foundation we are constantly reviewing our grant application process so it can become simpler and easier for applicants and seek feedback on how this is going. Therefore, as we like to be nothing if not flexible, we are making another change, by putting back our stage 1 deadlines, or cut-off points as we like to think of them.
Back in October 2020 we made the decision to remove the stage 1 cut-off points. We had just changed the way this stage of the process was reviewed, moving from a trustee-led process to one where our programme advisory panels give insights and opinions to a staff panel who then decide on which applications get invited through to a full application (a stage 2). As our trustees were no longer regularly involved in the review process at this stage, we had more flexibility in our timelines and felt it might be good for applicants to remove these cut-off points and allow submission at any time of the year, getting rid of any last-minute rushes to submit applications and making for a smoother experience.
That was our expectation, but it turns out that this was not exactly what everyone wanted. Some of you like to have a deadline of sorts to focus the mind, many want to understand from the outset how long it might take to get an answer. And we still have internal cut-offs where we gather together applications and turn them into papers to be reviewed by our advisory panels, which really were an internal cut-off.
So, it seems like the best way to communicate expectations more clearly and to help with planning is to re-introduce the stage 1 cut-off points. We will still operate a rolling programme, we have 4 review points across the year and it doesn’t matter to us when you apply, but to give an idea if you submit an application for a stage 1 cut-off point it is likely to take 5-6 months for a final answer from that point.
Our next cut-off point will now be 5th October 2021.
We hope this will make things a bit easier for applicants. If not, we’ll think of something else. We are always grateful to those who give us honest feedback to help keep improving.