Becoming a Peer Reviewer

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The Impact & Insight Toolkit encourages participating organisations to select peers to review their work, providing unique and well-informed perspectives. Band 2 and Band 3 NPOs are required to nominate at least one peer reviewer from their organisation to the Peer Matching Resource database so that other participating organisations can invite them to act as peer reviewers. It is not compulsory for other Toolkit users (i.e. Band 1 NPOs, SSOs, etc.); however, they are welcome to register peers if they choose.

Being invited to review an organisation’s work means that your professional opinions are highly valued; the host organisation considers you to be an expert in your artform or specialist area and well placed to offer feedback on their work. The peer’s role is to experience the work of an organisation (for example, a show, a concert, an exhibition or a publication) and respond to an Impact & Insight Toolkit Survey.

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Why become a peer reviewer?

  • To use your skills and knowledge to help develop creative projects and support artform innovation
  • To provide invaluable feedback to a variety of different organisations, helping them achieve their desired creative intentions
  • To help build an ecosystem and community of supportive creatives in your area
  • To understand what other people are creating and trying to achieve in your creative ecology or further afield
  • To help you better understand the work you are making
  • To experience different types of work and expand your knowledge base
  • To use your experience as evidence of your CPD within the field

Why would an artistic or cultural organisation want a peer reviewer’s perspective on their work?

  • To embrace a fresh set of professional eyes that aren’t involved in the internal development of a project
  • To understand whether they are meeting their creative intentions with their work
  • A selection of peer reviews coming from a variety of backgrounds can provide a well-rounded perspective on their work
  • To help embed a rich process of critical reflection across the sector

Who should be a peer reviewer?

  • Someone who has knowledge and expertise, either regarding a specific artform or spanning various artforms
  • Someone who is able and willing to make fair and honest judgements, and give constructive criticism and feedback to help support another organisation’s development

How will a peer reviewer’s response be used by the organisation and by the Arts Council?

  • A peer reviewer’s response is invaluable as it contributes to an organisation’s overall understanding of their work
  • The Impact & Insight Toolkit is a self-evaluation tool, in which the key insights come from the comparison of self, peer and public responses
  • Using the reporting function of the Impact & Insight Toolkit, the mean average of the results gathered from peer reviewers will be viewed alongside public and self-assessment results. This comparison of self, peer, and public results allows an organisation to see how far they have met their creative intentions for a piece of work.
  • Your open text answers are also an important part of the peer review process, providing self-assessors with additional interpretative context about your feedback
  • It is crucial you know that your feedback won’t have a direct effect on funding decisions made by Arts Council; the insight gathered through using the Impact & Insight Toolkit will inform conversations between organisations and the Arts Council, contributing to shared, well-rounded perspectives on their work.
  • The aggregate data set will help the sector better understand the value, diversity and impact of work being produced by Arts Council funded organisations

What does being a peer reviewer entail? What are the peer reviewer’s responsibilities?

  • After uploading their details to the Peer Portal, individuals may be approached by other NPOs with invitations to review events
  • If an organisation asks you to be a peer reviewer and you accept, you will then be invited to attend the event and complete a short survey
  • Individual peer reviewers are under no obligation to review work; they can choose which invitations to accept based on their availability and interest
  • If you are interested in reviewing another organisation’s project as a peer, you can also contact an organisation directly

How do I register or nominate colleagues to become peer reviewers?

Organisations may be keen to nominate staff members to act as peer reviewers for other NPOs, both to provide individual professional development opportunities and to bring learning back into the organisation. If you are a Band 2 or 3 NPO, the Arts Council requires your organisation to be available to provide a minimum of four peer reviews per year. These assessments can be carried out by one staff member or shared out between multiple staff members. There is no limit to the number of people you can nominate from your organisation to act as peer reviewers – you may want to put forward someone from your creative team, say, and someone with education or audience development expertise.

To nominate someone from your organisation, you will need to tell them a bit about the Impact & Insight Toolkit and the peer review process. You might want to share this guide which explains the basics.

If your staff member is happy to become a peer reviewer, they will need to register their details. In your Culture Counts dashboard, open an evaluation, select any survey and go to the ‘Invite’ page. Here you can register yourself or a colleague as a peer reviewer by clicking ‘Register a Peer’. If you would like your staff members to upload their own details, you can copy and share your organisation’s bespoke peer registration link.

The Arts Council suggests:

As a recommendation towards meeting your minimum requirements as an NPO (4 peer evaluations which can be carried out by different nominated peers from your organisation), that you accept peer evaluation requests across each year based on capacity and other commitments. You may choose to balance evaluation visits equally across the year, for example by accepting one each quarter and planning in advance when throughout the 12-month period you are available to accept requests. Provided that you have completed your minimum reviews as stated in your funding agreement, you are under no obligation to accept further requests where capacity and resource are limited. However, where peers do have capacity available, you can accept and complete a number of additional reviews for other organisations to support the initiative.’

If you would like to register as an Impact & Insight Toolkit peer reviewer and are not part of a participating organisation please contact to arrange for your details to be uploaded to the Impact & Insight Toolkit Peer Matching Resource.

I’ve registered. What happens next?

The information you provided will now be visible to registered users of the Impact & Insight Toolkit. From time to time you may be invited to attend and review events. When you receive an invitation, you can accept or decline at your discretion by clicking on the ‘Manage response’ button. Invitations are always sent to you via email; please do not try logging in to Culture Counts unless you are an existing user of the platform.

Once you accept an invitation, you may coordinate the logistics of your visit and direct any questions to the contact person listed in your invitation. After attending the event, you will be asked to complete a short online survey. The survey will take about ten minutes to fill in, depending on how much information you wish to provide.

If you need to cancel, you can do so through the ‘Manage response’ button in your invitation. You can also let them know by sending a courtesy email using the contact details provided.

You may have already been invited to attend and review events. If you have not, we recommend that you please add to your ‘safe senders’ list within your email client and that you check your spam folder to ensure that no invitations go ignored.

If you need to change any information in your profile, or would like to be removed at any time, please contact and one of our team members will gladly assist you.

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For more information on peer review within the Impact & Insight Toolkit, click here.

For further support you may email the team at

The information on this page was last updated on 5 March, 2020.

Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash


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