August 10th, 2020.

Lewes District Council has been recognised for supporting local business through innovation during the pandemic.  The Local Government Association (LGA) has highlighted the council’s dedicated portal that delivers Covid-19 business grants, as an example of good practice using a digital solution.

The new portal was launched in April to administer the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, of between £10,000 or £25,000 per business, in response to acute challenges firms were facing.

The council partnered with a digital company, Ascendant Solutions, to develop the groundbreaking portal which overlays multiple sources of data to check that claims are valid.

Councillor James MacCleary, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “It has been extremely tough for our local businesses over recent months and I am very pleased we were able to use technology to its best to ensure they received their grants quicker than any other local authority.

"This is an excellent example of our effective partnership working with the private sector. Well done to all involved in delivering this scheme for their hard work and innovative thinking.”

Applicants firstly register with the portal and then complete a form. This application is checked and verified using a number of algorithms before being assessed for eligibilty for a grant.

Those that meet all the checks and criteria are deemed ‘green’ and receive grants immediately. Cases marked ‘amber’ are considered low risk, but in need of further checks as some basic information is missing. Meanwhile ‘red’ is considered higher risk with these applications requiring thorough checking and often further evidence if grants are to be approved.

The system has built in measures to save time on processing ineligible applications and protect against exploitation of grants, which has presented a risk to many councils across the UK due to the pressure to distribute money quickly.

Time is running out for businesses still wishing to apply for a grant. For more information CLICK HERE.
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