FOI Request - Business Improvement Grants

Request 101003149918

Town Centre Capital Business Improvements Grants - Grants available to Moray wide town centre businesses for internal and external capital works to their premises to create a COVID safe environment and improve the attractiveness of the business to encourage people to shop local and to create greater footfall.

1. Please provide details of the decision-making panel and minutes of the meetings of that panel, especially the meeting which made the decisions on the success or otherwise of applications.

2. Please also include a list of all applications and applicants and the reasons that made some successful and others unsuccessful and,  where successful, the amounts awarded.

Response 06-10-2022

6/4/22 £410,000 was allocated for Town Centre Capital Business Improvement Grants and Business Start Up Grants from the Economic Recovery Fund. All of the funding has been allocated and the scheme is closed to new applications.

The funds were advertised via press release, Moray Council website, circulated to businesses via Business Gateway and were to be allocated on a first-come, first served basis at the discretion of the Economic Growth & Regeneration team.

The fund was administered and applications assessed by the same team that had worked with all of the other COVID Recovery/Business Hardship Grants over the past 3 years.

Application assessment started on  25/04/22.

- Applicants had to submit a completed and signed application form along with supporting documents via email to a shared email box.
- Each application was assigned a unique reference number and the applicant was sent this along with an acknowledgement email.
- Every application form was assessed by a member of the team according to the following criteria:

- is the business within, or in close proximity to the town centre
- is the work internal and/or external capital works
- will it create a COVID safe environment
- will it improve the attractiveness of the business to encourage people to shop local and increase footfall in town/village centre
- does the work create potential for increased economic impact/recovery

If there was any missing information or we required further support documents, the 'assessor' would contact the applicant to request this

The assessor would make their recommendation after all of the information, quotes, supporting documents were received and reviewed.

Once this had been carried out, the application would then be verified by another member of the team. If there was any missing information etc, they would either ask the assessor to contact the applicant or they would contact the applicant directly.  If the assessor and verifier had any concerns or queries regarding the eligibility of an application, the application could be reviewed by a 3rd member of the team or discussed with the Economic Growth & Regeneration Manager to determine eligibility. The application would then be assessed as eligible or ineligible and the person that verified the application would email the appropriate letter to the applicant.  

Unsuccessful applications did not adequately meet the criteria. The letter that was sent to unsuccessful applicants advised them to get in touch with us if they felt that the decision was wrong and/or we did not consider all facts in support of the application. If this happened, the Economic Growth & Regeneration Manager would review it and ask the Head of Services to make the final decision.

Under Scottish Government guidance for any FOI request regarding COVID 19 grant schemes we do not provide personal, business names or other identifying information but we can advise that the total grants allocated were as follows:

Business Improvements Grants - 39 successful, 10 unsuccessful (6 of these were assessed after the funds had been committed) Business Start Up Grants  - 6 successful, 7 unsuccessful, 2 withdrew

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