Who makes decisions on successful projects?
Decisions on funding awards will be taken by the Discover England Fund Awards Panel, comprising of our senior management and external industry representatives and experts appropriate to the Fund’s objectives. This expertise includes inbound tour operators, government departments, business visits and events, airlines, technology and distribution. These decisions will be ratified by the British Tourist Authority Board before you are notified and receive your grant offer letter.
What is the funding approval and expenditure process?
If the project is approved for funding by the Discover England Awards Panel, we will prepare a Grant Offer Letter and arrange a project set-up meeting with the lead applicant. Project expenditure is eligible from the commencement date of the signed grant offer letter. All projects must be implemented in accordance with the approved proposal and any additional conditions stipulated by the Awards Panel.
All projects have to submit a combined grant claim and project monitoring report form at least every three months. The frequency of this report will depend upon the duration of your approved project. Once authorised, we will make payment for the reimbursement of actual project costs incurred using the relevant intervention rate stated in the signed grant offer letter.
Every approved project will be assigned to a project manager who will be your first point of contact. Your project manager can clarify the rules and procedures of the Discover England Fund, as well as advising on general project implementation issues.
If required, we may run events for approved projects to explain issues that seem to be causing problems, provide information and guidance on the latest developments for the fund, and allow you to meet and exchange views with other projects.
Once we have a detailed understanding of how your proposed project will work, then we will be able to determine in discussion with the lead applicant how the project activities will be resourced from the Discover England Fund. This discussion will take place at the same time that co-financing contributions from project partners and third parties are confirmed. It is envisaged that funds to cover the cost of your activities will follow two routes:
- Reimbursement of actual project costs direct to lead project applicant – where the lead project applicant incurs direct costs, then the Fund will make a direct reimbursement based on the actual costs the project has incurred.
- Direct internal funding transfer within VisitEngland/VisitBritain - In some cases, project applicants and/or the Awards Panel may decide that proposed activity i.e. the delivery of marketing-related product testing and international promotional activities, are better carried out by our individual departments for and on behalf of the successful project applicant. If this applies, the Fund will make the relevant internal budget transfer in consultation with the project applicant.
What if I want to make any changes to my project?
You have to implement the project as it is described in the approved application. This means that if there are important changes, you will need to get approval from the Fund before going ahead. This may mean that your new proposal will have to be re-assessed by the Awards Panel, which of course could take time. Requests for changes should only be made when there are unavoidable and unforeseeable changes in your project’s operating environment.
Agreeing to be part of a project should be seen as a commitment until the end of the project. If beneficiaries leave, the project may be terminated. Funds already paid to the lead beneficiary may have to be repaid to the Fund if the leaving beneficiary has not delivered on its commitments in the Full Application Form.
What records do I need to keep?
It is important for all consortium partners to keep good records of their work and for the lead organisation to ensure that all records are kept up to date in the event of an external audit by either the Fund Secretariat or its representatives. Your Grant Offer Letter will contain a full list of essential documents for the audit trail but as a general rule you should be able to document exactly why you claimed every amount, why it was necessary for the project, and what steps you took to abide by other rules like providing value for money. In the event of an audit, failure to keep good records may result in a demand to pay back either all or part of the awarded grant.
What are the control and audit requirements?
The lead organisation must check and confirm that (i) all the costs claimed arise from implementing the project, (ii) that only activities agreed by the whole partnership are included in the claim and (iii) that all of these activities comply with the funding agreement and the approved application. This is a check that each beneficiary only claims for work which has been agreed as necessary by the whole project partnership.
Are there any communications guidelines or requirements?
Communication is an essential part of all programme activities. Activities should not occur in isolation and projects should demonstrate both a robust approach to external communication (to extend reach and impact and communicate outcomes), but also internal communications (so relevant stakeholders and partners are involved and up to date with progress). This is an ongoing requirement and not limited to the completion of a project. Guidelines will be issued to those who are successful.
The application form includes a separate section for shared learning and this issue is part of the assessment of the full application. Even good project proposals can be rejected if these activities are too weak to achieve the target activities. It is a requirement that every project partner must have a clear exit strategy and disseminate the results it produces as early as possible.
How will unsuccessful applicants be handled?
A huge amount of energy, commitment and collaboration will be required to pull together partnership applications for the new Discover England Fund. Whether a programme is successful or not, this effort will have huge benefits and wider impacts. Criteria will be designed to ensure that a manageable number of bids are coming forward to the Fund for assessment. Although we expect a number of unsuccessful bids we will give feedback and identify any future funding opportunities across Government and other agencies as appropriate. The research, outcomes, impacts and learnings resulting from all of the successful projects will be shared widely for the benefit of the tourism industry.
Next step: Find out about the Fund research programme