Thanks to those businesses that have let me know they've received their grant payments. I know that there are still businesses waiting, and that the wait is incredibly stressful for you. I’ve been debating how to approach this update, as on one hand, I know that having this information won’t practically change anything for those of you still waiting. However, NOT having information is stressful in itself. Knowing the numbers won’t eliminate the pressure you’re feeling, but it will help you have an understanding of what’s going on, and give you an idea of what’s happening in other areas across the country. Having that perspective might help reduce the understandable fear that grant requests have been lost or overlooked. What’s happening at ADC? I had the opportunity to talk with someone working in the Business Rates Department at ADC on Monday afternoon, and wanted to feed back some key points to give you an idea of the process involved at local level. ADC have a small, dedicated team available to process the grant requests, and they are currently working seven days a week to set up the payments from their respective homes to get the funds to you as quickly as possible. A number of eligibility and fraud checks have to be made for each grant submission, including cross referencing business details submitted with details on National Non Domestic Rates (Business Rates) records, checking that companies aren’t in liquidation, and that the declarations on the forms submitted have been signed properly (either by hand or electronically). These checks are absolutely necessary, and were dictated by government in their Guidance for Local Authorities. Without carrying out these checks, grant payments can't be authorised. In terms of payment frequency, ADC have a fixed weekly payment run for grant funds on Thursdays, and sometimes they are able to make an additional payment during a working week. This week there was an additional payment run where 385 business grants were paid on Monday 20th April, and another run is scheduled for Thursday 23rd April. The team responsible for processing the payments are also the same people that answer the phone calls and emails from businesses asking whether their grant requests have been received. All the time they are on calls, or replying to emails, they are not able to process applications. Based on my conversation with ADC yesterday, please can I suggest that you avoid calling or emailing them to follow up on the progress of your application for a week, so they have fewer interruptions and can focus on processing the unpaid grant request forms? How many grant requests has ADC processed so far? Local Authorities are required to report progress on grant processing back to central government at regular intervals. The figures for all 315 Local Authorities as at 20.04.20 are published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/880286/200420_local_authority_grant_payments.csv/preview I’ve been through the figures and calculated percentage of total grants issued, then identified the mean (average) for all of the 315 Local Authorities, and identified the most frequently occurring percentage, and the middle value to see how Arun is doing compared with everywhere else. All of that maths reveals the simple fact that Arun have achieved payment of more grant applications than some Local Authorities, and not as many as others. As at 20.04.20, ADC have reported processing 36% of the expected number of grant requests from receipt of request to payment. There are 58 other Local Authorities that have processed a lower percentage than that. And yes, that also means that 256 local authorities have managed to process a higher percentage of total requests at this stage, but we have no idea what their technology or resources situation is, or what the ratio of staff members to numbers of applications processed looks like. If you just focus on the number of applications processed, ADC is doing better than 135 other Local Authorities. From my analysis of the reported figures, an average of 48% of businesses across the country are still waiting for their grants to be paid by their Local Authorities. If you haven't received the grant for your business yet, I hope you can take from this that you're not alone, and it doesn't mean a mistake has been made.
Writing from my own experience, I do understand the overwhelming sense of powerlessness that those of you still waiting for the grants to come in might be feeling right now, and the anxiety that comes when expectations of payment dates aren’t met. There is nothing anyone can say that can eliminate that feeling. The hardest thing to do is to wait, but if you’ve done everything else you can do to contain your finances– if you’ve prioritised your outgoings, had conversations with your landlord, your bank, your credit providers, your suppliers, and applied for everything you’re entitled to – I’m afraid that waiting is the only option right now. If your business is eligible, your grant request will be processed, and your grant request will be paid. Please hold on in there.
Kindest regards, Heather
Whilst Clair is temporarily furloughed, and I am working from home, you can still contact me by email: email@example.com, by phone: 07917 692690 or through Zoom meeting software. The software is free to download and works across a wide range of platforms – phones, tablets, PC’s, Macs. If you’d like a virtual face to face, please invite: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Allen, BR BID Co-Ordinator