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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Celebrating the power of grant making

The first ever Government Grants conference and awards was a significant milestone for the Function and a huge success!

We invited grants and commercial practitioners working across government and local authorities to collectively celebrate the positive impact of grant funding on communities and citizens and the role of innovation to improve grants administration. 

The last few years have proven how vital grants are delivering government priorities - from emergency funding during the pandemic, to stimulating economic growth and rebuilding thriving communities, transforming support for farmers, housing refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan and investing in innovative new energy sources such as floating offshore wind turbines.

And, the last few years have also proven how amazing the grant-making community is! They have delivered funding efficiently, effectively and safely to those in most need, with expertise, dedication and professionalism. 


Be inspired

It was inspiring to have over 450 government grant makers in one room sharing best practice, hearing from experts on hot topics such as Artificial Intelligence and making new connections. 

It shows how far grant making has come as a recognised career path, blending financial, commercial and policy-making skills. We will continue to build this community and invest in training to attract and retain talented people who want to develop their careers.

Speaking to the grants community at the conference, Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, Alex Burghart said:

You continue to make what you do even better. Embracing efficiency. Producing ever greater productivity. Ensuring that no one is misusing taxpayers’ money and, instigating innovation. 


Celebrating outstanding achievements!

The awards honoured the dedication and hard work of individuals and teams that have made significant contributions to communities through impactful and innovative projects.

We were delighted with the standard of nominations. It was a difficult decision for the judges to select the best in class, but nevertheless, the 2024 government grants award winners are:

Citizen impact - DLUHC - Local Authority Housing Fund Team in recognition of their exceptional contribution to alleviating UK homelessness pressures including for people arriving in the UK after fleeing conflicts in Ukraine and Afghan.

The team said:

Winning the Citizens Impact Award is a hugely proud moment for the team. We all joined the Civil Service to help make a difference to the real world lives of people and have been moved by receiving photos and stories from local authorities of happy families moving into homes that the Local Authority Housing Fund has helped to deliver.

Innovation and effective risk management - DfT – The UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) team in recognition of their risk-based strategies to rapidly design and deliver research and development ­funding competitions that were firsts of their kind for the department and the maritime sector. 

The team said:

We are delighted to have been recognised for the work that has gone into not only accelerating the decarbonisation of the maritime sector and placing the UK at the forefront of maritime innovation, but also demonstrating grant-funding best practice.

Best Team - Home Office - Commercial Grants Function in recognition of their collective contribution to deliver a successful large-scale transformation programme with outstanding collaboration and engagement.

The team said:

We are delighted to receive the award in recognition of transformational improvements which ensured a compliant and mature grants function whose best practices are being shared across government.

Rising Star - DCMS - Rachel Wilkey-Pinfield in recognition of exceptional talent, dedication and ability to build a strong team culture.

Rachel said:

I’m really honoured to have been selected for this award - it's a reflection of the whole team's work in getting DCMS's grassroots sports facilities investment off the ground. I'm personally very proud of all that our three investment programmes have achieved in such a short space of time, providing spaces for people to get active all over the country and hopefully leaving a positive sporting legacy in communities for many years to come!

Inspirational Leader - DWP - Clare Bonson in recognition of her exemplary leadership and visionary contribution to inspire others through the grants life cycle.

Clare said:

I am deeply honoured to be recognised as an inspirational leader and to receive this prestigious award.  True leadership is not about power and authority, but about inspiring and empowering others to reach their full potential, within a caring environment. I could not have achieved this without my amazing team behind me. We must continue to work together to uplift and inspire one another to make a real difference.

Conference videos, slides and photos available on the Grants Centre of Excellence (only accessible to those with email address).


Grants will continue to deliver for communities and the economy

If you haven’t done so I’d recommend dipping into the 2023-2025 Government Strategy for Grants Management setting out how more grant making efficiencies will be found to ensure value to the taxpayer. 


Penny Horner-Long
Director and Head of Government Grants Management Function

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