The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has followed the the National Audit Office in calling for greater training and understanding from officials when assessing Regional Growth Fund (RGF) applications.
The group highlighted their frustration at the slow development of the process and has recommended a simplified application and assessment process “to avoid further delays, additional bureaucracy and costs for businesses”.
Gordon Marsden, the shadow minister for regional growth, said “Ministers urgently need to get a grip.” referring to the delays in getting successful applicants the promised funding.
However, Business Minister Mark Prisk defended the process by saying “We are dealing with big sums of public money, so it is vitally important that funding goes to the best projects which represent value for money – we cannot compromise on the quality of our decision making.”
Soapstone is working on behalf of our clients to inform officials in both central goverment and locally about the need for quick decisions and getting the money to successful applicants quickly. We have always emphasised the importance of a clear business case to our clients when completing applications to avoid lengthy due dilligence activity and see the effort at the application stage rewarded by having a robust plan which can translate easily into contractual milestones.
We have supported a number of high profile applications in round 3 and await the results in the autumn.