Assessment committees: the role and function

Assessment committees assess applications and and allocate funding, in line with any specific local priorities that have been set aside by your council.

The assessors (the members of the assessment committee) should collectively have a broad knowledge of the arts activity in your local area.

Other functions of committee members include:

  • discussing and making recommendations for promoting the scheme locally
  • receiving reports on funded projects and discussing completed projects
  • attending performances, exhibitions and other events funded by the Creative Communities Scheme
  • attending meetings organised by Creative New Zealand
  • contributing to the Annual Evaluation Report to Creative New Zealand
  • electing new community representatives to the committee after a public nomination process

Membership and make-up of assessment committees

Council committee, sub-committee or community committee?

The CCS assessment committee can be established as a committee of council, a sub-committee or a community committee. When considering which type of committee will best suit the circumstances of your council we recommend that you consult with your chief executive.

Decisions made by the CCS committee do not need to be approved or confirmed by your council.

Whatever form the committee takes, it must meet the following guidelines for membership and decision-making:

Size of the committee

There is no specific requirement for the number of members an assessment committee must have. However, Creative New Zealand strongly recommends there be at least seven, and not more than 11 members. A committee of nine members works well; having an odd number also assists with voting.

Who sits on the committee

Each assessment committee consists of –

Representation from local councils and community arts councils

  • Local councils may appoint up to two representatives to the assessment committee. These may be elected councillors or community board members with an arts and culture focus or knowledge. Elected councillors and local board members must not make up more than half of an assessment committee.
  • Each community arts council in the local area has the right to have a representative on the assessment committee. Community arts councils are organisations that have been formally gazetted under the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Act 2014 or previous versions of this Act.

Community representatives

Community representatives on the assessment committee must be familiar with the range and diversity of local arts activities. 

At least one member must be of Māori descent and have local knowledge of Māori arts activity. It is recommended that CCS administrators consult with local iwi regarding Māori appointments.

Ideally membership of the committee should also reflect the make-up of the local community, eg young people, recent migrants, Asian residents, and local Māori and Pasifika peoples.

Youth councils, ethnic councils or other community groups do not have an automatic right to be represented on the committee, but they may nominate community representatives for election.

Community representatives can’t include elected council members or community board members.

Community representatives must be elected in a public and open way by the existing assessment committee after a public nomination process. Options for doing this include –

  • calling for written nominations through newspapers, community noticeboards, direct mail-outs and websites with representatives being elected by the committee from these nominees
  • convening a public meeting where nominations are received from the floor with community representatives then being elected by the committee.

If there’s a limited response to a call for nominations or a public election process or the committee lacks specific knowledge, the committee (via the CCS administrator) may approach individuals directly and invite them to become members.

Term of membership

Community representatives may serve for a specified term of up to three years and can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

This term limitation does not apply to council or community arts council representatives however we do recommend rotation of council and community arts council representatives to keep the committee fresh. 

It’s a good idea to have a combination of new and experienced members. To keep this balance we recommend that committee members be replaced over time. Having past members mentor new members can be a great way to support new or younger members as they join the committee.


Each year the assessment committee should elect a chairperson.

A person may serve a maximum of three consecutive years as chair.