UK Community Renewal Fund

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Applications closed at noon on Friday 14 May 2021

A new national UK Community Renewal Fund has been set up by government to support local communities most in need, by improving skills, breaking down the barriers to employment and supporting local businesses.

The Council has been given responsibility as a lead authority for pulling together a bid to government and we are interested in projects that build on local insight and knowledge, and project proposals that align with long-term strategic plans for local growth, target people most in need and support community renewal.

In addition, projects should show how they complement other national and local provision. A focus for this Fund is to support innovation and new ideas in these areas, investing in pilots that draw on local insights and which will help places to prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022.

Before starting work on a bid, please read the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and the UK Community Fund Technical Note for Project Applicants and Deliverers.

The Prospectus provides detailed information on the objectives of the Fund, the types of projects it intends to support and how it operates, including the process and selection criteria that will be used to assess bids.

Successful UK Community Renewal Fund bids will be for 2021/22 only and activity must be revenue based and be financially and practically completed by 31st March 2022.

The council will work to pull together a package of projects for submission, but the government will decide on which projects are supported. Full details of the role of lead authorities can be found in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

As a lead authority, Nottinghamshire County Council is responsible for:

• issuing this invitation.
• receiving bids.
• selecting the bids that will be sent to government for consideration.
• paying grants to successful projects and managing their performance.

Projects must deliver activity that is line with the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus and align with at least one of these investment priorities:

  • investment in skills.
  • investment for local business.
  • investment in communities and place.
  • supporting people into employment.

There are no financial allocations to these priorities.

The government anticipates supporting a range of projects by theme and size, but applicants are encouraged to maximise impact and deliverability through larger projects (£500,000+) where this is possible.

As 90% of funding available through the UK Community Renewal Fund is revenue funding and only available in 2021/22, projects should be predominantly, or exclusively revenue based. Projects that focus predominantly on the construction or major refurbishment of buildings, the purchase of land or the purchase of large pieces of equipment will not be supported.

Projects should benefit the following places identified by the government as ‘Priority 1’ areas:

  • Bassetlaw
  • Mansfield
  • Newark and Sherwood

Organisations in other areas of the county can still apply if projects match the grant criteria.

Bids may cover a single area, or a combination.

In selecting the bids that will be forwarded to the government for consideration the council will prioritise the bids that have the greatest potential to deliver against key local growth priorities in the required timescales.

The priorities are:

  • helping those who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic to be supported back into work.
  • supporting small businesses and encouraging new businesses.
  • supporting market towns by improving footfall.
  • encouraging more visitors to Nottinghamshire to help support the local tourism and hospitality trade.
  • helping businesses improve their low carbon credentials.
  • supporting manufacturers to digitally upskill the workforce to meet the increasing challenges of advances in technology.

Review the types of activity and indicative outputs that may meet local priorities [Word].

Because of the limited timescale for projects to be delivered (by 31st March 2022), bids are particularly encouraged from organisations with existing projects and programmes which meet the government’s investment priorities and which could offer clear additional value and deliver additional outputs.

Organisations proposing to bid must have notified the council of their intention to bid no later than Friday 16 April 2021, confirming:

  • the name of the organisation (or lead organisation if working with others) proposing to submit the bid.
  • a contact person for the bid.
  • a brief summary (a maximum of 200 words) confirming the nature and focus of the bid, its proposed impact and outputs.

The notification should be sent to CRFNottinghamshire@nottscc.gov.uk.

Final bids must be submitted by noon Friday 14 May 2021 using the UK Community Renewal Fund Application Form. Bids submitted in any other format will not be accepted.

Bids must be submitted to Nottinghamshire County Council using the following email address: CRFNottinghamshire@nottscc.gov.uk.

As the lead authority, Nottinghamshire County Council will assess all bids submitted against the following:

  • the gateway criteria [odt] set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus – bids that fail to meet these criteria are ineligible support and will be rejected.
  • where organisations are not public sector organisations, they must have sufficient financial standing to manage the level of funding requested and that there are no delivery issues that would prevent early and full delivery.
  • the extent to which they meet the objectives of UK Community Renewal Fund.
  • the extent to which bids would support the delivery of local growth and employment and its priorities.

In particular, bidders should note the following when deciding whether to bid:

  • in line with government requirements, priority will be given to larger projects of £500,000 and above.
  • all organisations should be able to demonstrate sufficient financial standing, experience and capabilities to manage and deliver such projects.
  • all projects must be completed, and funds spent by 31 March 2022, noting that this is predominantly revenue-based funding
    and project start dates will not be known until the proposals are agreed with the government, after late July 2021.

Following assessment, Nottinghamshire County Council will submit those eligible bids which most strongly meet the UK Community Renewal Fund and its local priorities to the government for consideration, up to a maximum of £3m per priority geographic area.

The government will assess all bids submitted by lead authorities against the criteria set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

The government will announce the outcome of the assessment process from late July 2021 onwards.

Nottinghamshire County Council will enter into a funding agreement with successful bidders.

Last updated 4 May 2021

Q. Could you clarify the amount of funding available in each of the three local authorities identified as priority areas by the government?

A. The 3 priority areas in Nottinghamshire are identified as Bassetlaw, Mansfield and Newark and Sherwood, with each area being afforded the opportunity for bids of up to £3M each.

Q. Do you need to make an application for each priority area?

A. Applications can be made which impact on one or a combination or on all 3 areas. Technically applications can be made for wider areas too, noting that a focus on the priority areas will score better under the government’s assessment criteria.

Q. Are you looking for bids that cover all 3 priority areas?

A. Not necessarily. Much depends on the focus of your application and which themes amongst our local priorities you are looking to address. Note that applications which reflect a strong collaborative approach with partners and represent good value for money, secure excellent efficiencies in delivery and are clearly deliverable over a short period of time will likely score well.

Q. If we didn’t submit an Intention to Bid, can we still make an application?

A. In seeking support from the UK Community Renewal Fund, you must make an application regardless of whether you did or didn’t notify us of your intention to bid. Applications must be made on the government’s application form and no other form of submission will be considered.

Q. We do not intend to make an application to you but would welcome the opportunity to offer details of our work and explore opportunities to work with you and partners. Can we do that?

A. Our focus through this process is to secure projects that meet Nottinghamshire’s and the government’s expectations under the UK CRF. However, we have noted a number of requests to review products or services that may help the Nottinghamshire economy and we will respond separately in due course. Otherwise, under the UK CRF, collaboration with and between organisations and partners is very much encouraged prior to the submission of any applications.

Q. Are the Intentions to Bid used as part of the assessment process?

A. Only the full applications will be assessed. The Intentions to Bid have been used to review the likely scale and targeting of applications but equally, have allowed us to offer some immediate observations as summarised below, noting we are obliged to make the process an open call.

Q. Are you able to discuss the suitability of projects from the Intentions to Bid?

A. We will make a judgement based on the government’s assessment criteria and on submitted full applications only and we cannot enter into discussions at this stage.

Q. Can you provide any additional clarity on match funding, how match funding will be appraised and taken into account within a value for money assessment of applications?

A. We will be using the same assessment framework as that published by government. While the guidance states that match-funding is not a pre-requisite to applying, the amount of partner co-investment is assessed (and scored accordingly) but is not assessed in relation to employment interventions.

Q. Will there be opportunity for discussion or negotiation over applications submitted before the final shortlist is submitted to government?

A. We are unlikely to enter into negotiations or discussions over individual project applications. However, we reserve the right to do so should we consider the collective projects are not meeting our expectations over the local strategic fit and overall impact. Our key message at this stage is to encourage collaboration between partners and organisations operating in similar fields and geographies, especially on those that impact on the 3 priority areas.  This will likely see projects scoring well via the assessment process.

Q. Reference is made in the government guidance to administrative fees. Can you explain how this will work?

A. The UK CRF provides Lead Authorities with funding to be used towards the costs incurred in managing the award. A flat rate of 2% of the value of each approved project / the total value of the government approved bid may be secured and in circumstances where there is expected to be a large volume of transactions, or particularly complex project delivery, a flat rate of 3% may be permitted. The final amount to be secured to manage the programme will be dependent upon the scale of bids and the level of support from government but at this stage, all project applicants should look to factor the maximum possible rate into the development of their project costs.

Further questions can be submitted via: NottsCRFQueries@nottscc.gov.uk and this page will be refreshed as appropriate.

Additional FAQs from the Online Briefing Session 30 April 2021

Q. Will the Fund Eligibility Rules and Guidance be published prior to the deadline?

A. The Council will be following the government’s published guidance, details of which can found here. Specifically, details on the eligible and ineligible costs can be found at sections 5 and 7 within the within the Technical Note.

Q. Do I need to have submitted an Intention to Bid to put in a full application?

A. No. It remains an open call to all, with applications to be made to us on the government’s application form. All applicants must use this form.

Q. I submitted an Intention to Bid and I haven’t received any confirmation. Is this right and can I still submit to the opportunity?

A. If you submitted an Intention to Bid, you will not have heard from us other than a standard acknowledgement of receipt. As above, any organisation can submit a full application by the deadline, regardless of whether they did or didn’t offer us an Intention to Bid.

Q. Can you confirm the deadline for applications?

A. The revised deadline is Noon on 14 May 2021. The deadline is absolute and no flexibility can be offered.

Q. Will bids of £500,000 and over be given priority over smaller bids?

A. Not necessarily. The CRF offers scope for a range of projects and the guidance places stress upon pilot and (by default) related smaller scale projects but equally, recognises that larger scale projects help maximize impact and deliverability. Both aspects feature within the government’s assessment criteria.

Q. Are there any additional requirements or expectations of applicants after the first Gateway check?

A. It is currently intended that no additional information will be required at any stage of the process, though we reserve the right to clarify any issues with applicants throughout.

Q. How does the stress on minimal risk align with the push in the Prospectus for innovation and learning to inform the UK Shared Prosperity Fund?

A. The stress is on the mitigation of risk, including the applicant’s project-level management controls. This will apply to all projects being the subject of full assessment. Innovation can be seen with larger projects that may build on existing activity or be developed through the collective actions of partners. Equally, it can be manifest through genuinely new or pilot related activity.

Q. Would you encourage any match funding? Would bids with match funding be given priority?

A. Match or contributory funding is encouraged but is not an absolute requirement for any project and will not be an assessment consideration for projects solely focused on employment interventions. However, match or co-funding will be assessed in its contribution to added value / value for money considerations in the delivery of the project and its intended outcomes.

Q. The guidance states that additional info should not be attached, but also states you can add a flowchart to explain how the idea works. Where would you place this?

A. Please endeavour to embed any charts or related explanatory aspects within the application form.

Q. Does the evaluation have to be completed within the same overall timescale?

A. Two points on evaluation. The identification of an effective approach to a project’s evaluation (being appropriate to the scale and desired impacts of the project) will be part of the assessment so all projects are expected to offer details of how this will be effected and paid for. Secondly, the government has promised further guidance on the evaluation regime and the specific expectations of project delivery partners, and of the Council as Lead Authority. At this stage, it is assumed that evaluation will take place after delivery but applicants should look to build-in suitable processes to support this being managed quickly and effectively. We will offer further insight when we receive the guidance.

Q. Will I be told if our project is included in June submission and, if so, when?

A. We will be confirming with all applicants the formal position of their projects after the assessment process and the consideration by members. At this stage, given the tight deadlines, applicants will not therefore know if their project has been included in the submission to government until shortly after it has been made. Please note that the final decision on all submitted projects will be taken by the government.

 

Observations from the Intentions to Bid

While we will not be entering into discussion over individual applications going forwards, a number of observations may be made at this stage:

  • A number of intentions to bid were from individual businesses or organisations seeking support for specific investment in their business. Bids cannot be submitted for projects that benefit a single entity, for example a single business.  There must be evidence of wider impact for multiple individuals, businesses or other organisations and communities.
  • A number of bids were looking for capital. The UK CRF is predominantly revenue and for projects and programmes that address a theme or multiple themes and may therefore not be eligible or score well.  Please review the guidance carefully before applying.
  • We would urge potential applicants to use the time before submission to explore clear and credible collaboration with partners and fellow delivery organisations.
  • Equally, while the process to date hasn’t required clarity at this stage as to the targeted areas and themes, full applications must demonstrate how they will impact on the themes and the local geographies, focusing especially on the 3 priority areas. The assessment process is geared towards the top priority areas.
  • The deadline for the submission of final applications is absolute.
  • Applicants must use the government’s published application form. No other form of submission will be accepted.
  • While referenced in the guidance, please note that applicants, if successful, will need to develop an evaluation plan with between 1-2% of their award to be dedicated to that evaluation with a minimum threshold of £10,000.

A briefing session was held on Friday 30 April 2021 and the slide deck from that is available here: UK Community Renewal Fund Information Webinar slides

The briefing session was recorded and can be viewed through the link below:

Please also see the Frequently Asked Questions

Please refer to the government’s Frequently Asked Questions page in the first instance.

Should you have any further questions, please send them to: NottsCRFQueries@nottscc.gov.uk and they will be responded to in the above section 'Answers to your frequently asked questions'. No individual correspondence will be entered into at this stage.

The information on this webpage [Word] is also available to download.

Read our community renewal fund privacy notice [PDF] which confirms how bid information will be handled and how confidential data will be protected as part of the application process.

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