Cabinet Office signs £4m deal to build unified portal for managing government grants

Tech consultancy picked to support project to create centralised system

Credit: Max Pixel

The Cabinet Office has awarded a £4.2m contract for the development of a new centralised portal to manage the application and award process for all grants issued by the government. 

The system will be managed by the central department, which hopes to streamline the process of providing grants to charities. Once a full working version of the portal is ready, several departments will take part in a pilot process. If this is deemed a success, the digital tool will be rolled out across government.

In tender documents published late last year, the government said a unified portal is required because “at present, there is no single go-to place to find or apply for government grants”.

Implementing such a platform would “enable a step-change in UK government grant making and completely re-set the way in which government, public sector bodies, charities, SMEs and citizens interact”.

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“[Current processes are] complicated, time-consuming and costly for applicants – they employ people to look for grant opportunities – and exposes government to significant risk of fraud, error and duplication of funding,” the contract notice said. “It also leads to some organisations not being aware of grant opportunities,” it said. “The pilot will drive awareness of the range of funding opportunities available for charities, increasing competition and enabling wider distribution of funding, in line with the levelling-up agenda. The pilot will reduce the burden, cost and speed of applying for government grants and enable government to automate pre-award due diligence.”

The deal to support the development of the portal was awarded to AND Digital, which entered into a contract with the Cabinet Office on 24 January. The engagement runs until 31 March 2023.

Peter Dale, head of AND Digital’s Glasgow base – which will lead the delivery of the grants project – said: “In engaging with the Cabinet Office throughout the initial process and understanding their vision, it’s very clear that this project has the potential to fundamentally transform the user experience of citizens, businesses and charitable organisations alike.”

With revenues of close to £100m a year, digital consultancy AND has 19 offices, including eight in London and the same amount in the rest of England, and one each in Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as a Dutch outpost in Amsterdam.


Sam Trendall

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