Find a Grant has been up and running on GOV.UK for a month now and the response has been overwhelming.
So far, this month, over 3,380 people have visited the site with over 70 people going on to click ‘apply’. We have also now reached over 660 people in the Government Grants Community with over 530 wanting to actively support us to co-create the new pilot service - which has been going on in the background.
We have also been collecting up the feedback that we have received since we went live on 12 April via all the different ways you can let us know what you think.
There have been so many suggestions and thoughts about how to improve and enhance the service further - which is brilliant. We are working our way through the ideas to see which ones we can take forward and test out between now and March 2023.
There were some that we have been able to put into action now. So today we have released our first upgrade to our Beta Find a Grant.
- A ‘what’s new in the last 7 days’ alert: To save you checking back, you can now sign up for an alert that will send you a weekly email letting you know if any grants have been added over the last 7 days. It is just a click of a button. Down the line this will be further enhanced with a registration process so that you can type in and save keywords for an alert for grants you are interested in. Today’s new alert is the first stepping stone towards that.
- Fuzzy search: Ok, it is a funny name but we have improved the search function to include fuzzy searching. That means if you don’t quite type in the exact spelling, it does not matter. The system will guess what you might be looking for.
- Features and functions to improve accessibility: We will ensure the service meets the government standards for accessibility. But we didn’t want to wait to know how we were doing. We could, of course, have done a self-assessment - but we decided to ask an external expert to go through our service at this early stage. As a result of their advice we have already improved things so that Find a Grant works even better for everyone. And, we have also started to work with colleagues in the Government Grants Community who have shared their accessibility needs with us so that they can test the accessibility of our service on behalf of others too. If you would also like to help us, you can sign up here; and in the free text at the end just let us know that you would like to support accessibility testing. We will be in touch very promptly.
What else have we been up to?
Well, as usual we have been busy bees in the Grants Applicant Programme looking at the next big upgrade - how we add an integrated ‘Apply for a Grant’ service on to Find a Grant. This might sound straightforward but - oh my word - it really isn’t.
So far we have ten BIG things on our wish list. Over the weeks and months ahead, with our 660-strong Government Grants Community, we will see if we can make some or all of these a reality.
Ten months and ten focus areas
In no particular order, our top ten areas of focus over the next ten months, to address the problem areas raised during our discovery work, are:
- Creating a single applicant profile - so that an applicant’s information and keyword searches are safely pre-stored.
- Creating a shared applicant access - to enable collaboration on a single grant application.
- Creating a grant advert and application builder - to provide a single, consistent application process across different grants.
- Eligibility matching - so that we can encourage organisations to only apply for grants for which they are eligible, to reduce time and costs to applicants.
- Sharing grant writing guidance and expertise - to support and share good practice with prospective grants applicants on what good grant applications look like.
- Creating an accessible service - a service for everyone that is consistent, fair and easy to use.
- Integrating with our other digital tools - to make it easy to access information from Spotlight, government’s online automated due-diligence tool, and GGiS, the annual grant spend data.
- Providing transparent data reporting - to support policy teams to identify opportunities to level the playing field and improve the distribution of grants across the UK.
- Creating a feedback mechanism - to support grant administrators to give feedback within the online service to help increase competition and quality of applications.
- Supporting application evaluation - facilitated from within the digital service - ensuring transparency and confidence in decision-making.
We are definitely up for the challenge - particularly if we keep getting the feedback and encouragement that creating a single, online place to find and apply for all government grants is the way to go for applicants, administrators and taxpayers.
Let us know what you think.
Delivery Director, Grants Applicant Programme