Community Grants Service


  1. Project outputs
  2. Timeline

This project aimed to combine the process of users submitting grant applications with back office systems to ensure a seamless, timely and efficient process.

Like many councils, Newcastle City Council fosters local change and development through specific funds such as Ward Grants and Clean Air Funds. However this is a labour intensive process and open to fraud.

There are a number of pain points within the Community Grants process, such as:

  • No visibility of NCCs full grant provision
  • Different methods of applying and processing used to manage the applications
  • The methods are not based on user needs
  • Applicants have no visibility of the stage of their application
  • When not a manual process, different technologies are used but these are often legacy-based software and require technical workarounds/integration
  • No validation for fraud, and the ability to audit is difficult

This beta phase aimed to:

  • iterate the alpha MVP and test on two new funds
  • continue to design and develop the product ensuring it meets user needs
  • develop a product roadmap that includes identified funds for future beta development
  • create a comprehensive calendar of grants
  • define metrics for savings
  • add the ability to utilise data to detect fraud and use API’s to validate data
  • provide skills training

TPXimpact were procured by the project team to bring in a user researcher and an agile delivery team who, alongside low code provider Netcall, developed a minimum viable product that was tested on fund applicants, the council fraud team and grant application staff.

Finding time with the council officers for testing was an obstacle the delivery team had to overcome once an initial prototype was developed.

Newcastle were pleased with the result so they moved from an Alpha development into a private Beta with a successful continuous funding application in November 2022.

Project outputs

The project’s final alpha output, a report, covers their approach, user research, prototyping, user testing and more. Read the project report in Google Slides or download it as an Open Document Format below.


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Project timeline

November 2021

The project is awarded £123,320 of funding through Round 5 of the Local Digital Fund to conduct an alpha phase.

December 2021

February 2022

April 2022

The project has come to the end of a 12-week alpha focused on meeting user needs relating to the community grant process while piloting the use of a low code platform.

Their final output, a project report, covers their approach, user research, prototyping, user testing and more. Read the project report.

October 2022

The Newcastle City Council project was successful in their application for Beta funding as part of the continuous funding model (CFM) process.

Their funds will be received in October and they are excited to enter the Beta phase of the project.

Paul Doney, ICT Applications Manager and Project Lead, gave a helpful presentation at the Local Digital Fund Round 6 webinar on Wednesday 19 October, providing advice on how to develop a successful application for the Local Digital Fund and what subsequent opportunities he has received. Paul also answered questions from other councils considering applying and his insights were greatly appreciated.

November 2022

Newcastle’s delivery partners, TPX Impact and Netcall, are currently being contracted. The project team is aiming to start the beta phase of the project in January.

January 2023

Following their successful application for continuous funding, the project has moved into the beta phase with the procurement of TPX impact as delivery partners. The six-month roadmap will deliver in Autumn 2023.

April 2023

The Newcastle City Council team has updated their service blueprint and made content updates for the Ward Grant form and guidance. They have finalised the content for the Ward Grant guidance webpage and are preparing to make changes to the low code platform. For the Youth Fund, they have reviewed and cut down the guidance to essential information and addressed confusing questions.

Next, they plan to finalise content and update the low code form for Ward Grants and Youth Fund, review Newcastle Fund guidance, and explore creating a standardised application form. They are also implementing modulus checking, finalising the payment phase, and prototyping a solution for the monitoring and evaluation phase.