Covid-19 government grants: enhancing efficiency, improving consistency and relieving pressure in local authorities.
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the government has provided a number of grants to councils to support their constituents, from large grants such as Business Support and Business Rate Relief, through to smaller grants such as the Small Business Grants Fund, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund and the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund.
However, we understand that the introduction of these grants has presented a number of challenges for councils. Due to the unprecedented nature and volume of grants, organisations have often developed inconsistent and highly manual processes, which increase the risk of human error. Pressures on payments have led to inadequate testing of applications, all resulting in a lack of clarity over the current state position of the council across grants and, potential for incorrect payments. With upcoming outward payment reporting deadlines, this has left councils exposed to both under-use and over-use of Government grants.
To help local authorities, Mazars’ Business Consulting team has developed a bespoke Grant Reconciliation & Process Improvement framework. This will help to assess the current process and organisational practices, as well as create a new end-to-end process flow. The new process aims to improve efficiency and enhance reporting, allowing for greater oversight and transparency of real-time grant position.
The first key aspect of our framework is to ascertain the current state position of each Government grant. Initial steps will involve:
- Reconciliation of payments made against what is being tracked, providing assurance on values utilised.
- Analysis on payments made to ensure they satisfy grant criteria, highlighting any discrepancies.
- A reporting tool allowing live, accurate data to be seen by all relevant stakeholders within the organisation on the KPI’s important to the organisation on their use of the grant funding and the reach/impact it has had.
Following the current state assessment, it is vital that an efficient process is developed that outlines responsibilities and key steps, from grant announcement through to reporting on outward payments. The process will be designed to eliminate waste, freeing staff members for more value-add activities, with the process underpinned by robust eligibility controls to ensure only correct applications are approved.
An end-to-end process flow will be produced, with accompanying responsibility assignment matrix to ensure that the duties of all employees involved are understood and documented. There will also be an automated reporting pack included in the process with a supplementary Power BI Dashboard, which will help measure the council’s position of each grant in real time, adding oversight and clarity for senior management.
Key benefits for your organisation
- Enhanced efficiency: An optimised end-to-end process with robust controls to maximise efficiency, ensure consistency throughout the organisation and reduce the risk of ineligible payments.
- Reduced manual intervention: Development of automated processes to reduce manual intervention and the risk of human error, freeing staff members for value-add activities.
- Increased oversight and clarity: Real time reporting to manifest clear understanding and oversight of the current state position of each government grant.
Get in touch
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the above or believe that your organisation may benefit from this service, please contact Alan Frost.
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