19th April 2022

Provision of Project Audit/Evaluation Services – Cheshire & Warrington Covid 19 Restructure Grant Programme

Background

In July 2020 the Cheshire & Warrington LEP commissioned Blue Orchid Enterprise Solutions Ltd to develop and deliver an SME grant scheme to support SMEs across the Cheshire & Warrington LEP area to purchase and install small capital items to allow their business to adapt to then emerging and rapidly changing COVID 19 guidance and regulations.

Basing our response on a review of the Government advice within the ‘Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19’ series of guidance documents and feedback from our business advisers, Blue Orchid submitted a project proposal. Under this proposal Blue Orchid agreed to deliver a complete end-to-end grant management project comprising;
• Programme, process and systems development
• Launch and marketing
• Client engagement & recruitment
• Application processing and client support
• Application appraisal & due diligence
• Grant claim processing and payment
• Monitoring & reporting

The proposed programme recommended a small grant programme providing grants of up to 80% of purchase costs (maximum value of £5,000) to the Cheshire & Warrington SMEs to support the purchase of items that would commonly fall under the falling types;

  • Support home & remote working
  • Physical Equipment & Building Modifications
  • Mobile ordering and payment systems
  • Handheld Order/Point-of-Sales & Kitchen Display equipment

Following a successful initial phase the LEP decided in October 2020 to increase the Covid Restructure Grant Fund by a further £1m and asked Blue Orchid to submit a proposal to deliver this significantly larger project which resulted in the creation of a £1.4m grant fund in total.

Requirements of the Brief 

As part of the contract conditions Blue Orchid is required to appoint an independent consultant to conduct an evaluation/audit of the programme who will examine the claims submitted for the project duration and carry out a review comprising;

  • Selection of a random sample of eligible expenditure incurred by value as reported on the claims and traced them to invoices or other supporting documentation and evidence of payment to check that they have been properly incurred and defrayed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Grant
  • Verification of the outputs claimed by the project and checked that there is adequate supporting information available to support these claims;
  • Confirmation of the arithmetical accuracy of the schedules relating to the claims and agreed them to the appropriate supporting documentation and review of whether the grant claimed by the Organisation has been calculated in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Grant Offer Letter;
  • Confirmation that any State Aid implications have been considered and compliance with Public Procurement Legislation has occurred

Click here to download the full specification, tender response form & associated documents

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