- It is a competition
- £1bn budget available
- Minimum bid of £1M
- Applications can be for projects or programmes
- Deadline for applications is the 13 June 12 noon
- Announcements will be made in the autumn
- Projects must be able to spend by March 2015
- Monitoring can be up to five years after the project is complete
- For programmes the lead organisation will have to go through due diligence with all the partners.
New and updated guidance for Round 3
- Programmes can include a request for funding towards administration support, nothing is specified and no limits have been set
- Involvement of the LEP can be considered as a private sector partner for programme bids. For projects the private sector partner needs to be identified.
- Promotion of RGF in their area
- Manage expectations through guidance and advice
- Support companies to write bids
- No requirement for applicants to go through the LEP. Keep process simple and streamlined as possible when endorsing or supporting projects.
- LEPs can submit bids, probably programme bids but they will need to be really focussed and additional to what is already provided. There is an issue around direct jobs as the majority will deliver indirect jobs.
- Statistics around public sector employment is looked at seriously and this information can be added to with more local information and by flagging up local issues.
- Bids are stronger if they create direct jobs and the sooner these are created the better.
- Although the level of match is not specified on average the successful bids are levering in resources 5:1.
- Skills is an issue in the West Midlands so bids which will also support skill development will be seen positively.
- Need to demonstrate that the project will not go ahead without RGF or that it won’t happen to the same extent.
- Need to keep the applications concise, no jargon and in a format which is easy to summarise – new word count. Make it easy for the assessment team. The summary will look at: rebalancing the economy; economic sustainability; state aid; jobs, value for money. This summary is shared with other departments who will have their say and may push for particular projects.
- Do not provide lots of appendices as they may not be looked at.
- Must meet objectives of fund and be additional to existing activity and be evidence based.
- Applicants are held to the number of direct jobs created. If bid is about safeguarding jobs, a strong rationale is needed. If indirect jobs are forecast, these should not be significantly more than the direct jobs created (ratio of 1:5 is frowned on).
- Other funding must be confirmed asap and be realistic about income streams if these are included. Focus is on private sector leverage.
- Lots of projects have fallen down on additionality – why is RGF needed, how much is needed, what happens without RGF.
- Market Outlook – very important part of the form. Must demonstrate good understanding of the market, present a strong case for the difference the project will make and factor in displacement/deadweight.
- Many bids are vague and optimistic on risks and governance, need to have a robust risk management strategy and wider management arrangements.
- Don’t skim over wider economic costs and benefits as this could be critical in a close contest. Activity such as community mentoring etc can strengthen a bid. If the government has withdrawn money from an area this could be included to strengthen the case.
- The independent Advisory Panel, led by Lord Heseltine, is where the power is. Final decision is made by the Ministerial Panel, Chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. Lobbying appears to pay off.
- The bid must inspire confidence
- Best bids are like a good business proposal
- Throughout the application, build a story so it flows and avoid repetition
- Make sure that sums add up
- Don’t base the application on the maximum amount which state aid will allow
- State Aid is an issue for large firms outside of assisted areas, don’t interpret the rules, read the guidance and ask if unsure – good checklist on the website
- Looking for bids which are easy to understand, easy to deliver and low risk
- Due diligence has been a challenge for larger more complex projects with light touch for smaller companies and simpler projects.
- Can book a slot on one of the Roadshows to discuss potential projects and there is no longer a need to submit an expression of interest ahead of this session.
- BIS local can support applicants although there capacity is limited to a small team of 7.
- Q&A will be produced nationally
- RGF group in West Midlands with contact from each LEP – for Shropshire it is Paula Rogers.
- Enhanced team now in place nationally.
Business and Enterprise
Business and Enterprise
Shirehall, Abbey Foregate