Following the successful delivery of the Covid-19 business grants programme, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was tasked with undertaking reconciliation and assurance activity for the schemes, all with different eligibility criteria.
Altogether, the BEIS project assessed £25bn of funding and the provision of over four million grants.
BEIS received data submitted from UK local authorities across the country, who back in 2020 had been tasked by the government with handing out business relief grants. The procedure of ratifying these grants involved several government departments in process design and audit assurance.
The finalised process required submitted data to be analysed at both an authority and singular level, including spot checks on individual grants. BEIS identified that a short-term piece of work was required to reconcile 13 schemes across 314 councils, involving over 20,000 businesses.
Set to run over a nine-month period, the supplier would be required to undertake over 30,000 individual evidence checks to assure the entire programme.
The importance of accuracy, speed and ultimately success in the project could not be overstated, with the government under scrutiny for every detail of its handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
BEIS identified this was a short-term piece of work requiring a high volume of resource, and was therefore best delivered in partnership with an external supplier. BEIS therefore required a partner that could quickly formulate a team focused on attention to detail and accuracy with data, that could work ‘at pace’.
This difficult requirement, combined with the novel and continuously evolving nature of the project also required BEIS to partner with a supplier with exemplary credibility and flexibility.
Reed Talent Solutions analysed the requirement from BEIS, immediately identifying that the scale and pressing nature of the project would require more than a contemporary managed service solution to ensure delivery within the service level agreements.
Our consultancy arm, Consultancy+, therefore took control of the project, initially running a detailed scoping call with BEIS to understand the key deliverables and skills needed to manage the casework.
Understanding that case handling for BEIS would require 100% accuracy as well as speed and experience with targets, Consultancy+ drew on Reed Talent Solution’s wider volume casework account experience to recruit experienced contractors.
After working with BEIS to design a holistic caseworker assessment procedure, with tailored testing based on attention to detail at pace, Consultancy+ subsequently deployed more than 30qualified workers. Our experienced managers developed and ran extensive training for workers, working with BEIS to develop and then teach tailored workflows and processes.
Training and initial casework included a ‘buddy up’ period, whereby contractors were paired up to check each other’s work. This not only facilitated team bonding, but also allowed contractors to build trust and understanding prior to work being seen by our quality assurance function.
Contractors were aligned solely to this project, working with Reed Talent Solutions’ equipment, and overseen by our managers.
Within three weeks of our appointment:
We had worked with BEIS to understand the flow and volume of work through agreed milestones, thus ensuring we had the right amount of resource available as and when required.
Our team of case handlers were in place, led by a management team of team leaders, an account manager, and client relationship manager. We followed BEIS specifications by appointing an account manager to lead the communication between our team and BEIS throughout delivery.
Delivery of the work had begun, run out of our Newcastle office through a hybrid working model, meaning we effectively managed Covid-19 challenges and limited absences.
Early in the project we identified continuity of contractor resource as key to meeting BEIS’ aims of 100% accuracy and speedy resolution, due to a time delay if we needed to train new contractors.
As such, we have worked to support contractors in their role as far as possible, limiting attrition. We have facilitated social and wellbeing days, as well as fiscal retention methods (bonuses) to ensure contractors enjoy their work and are motivated to continue with the project.
Our team has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with BEIS staff and has delivered an outstanding service, hitting all the contract objectives, including 100% completion rate of all work commissioned.
We went over and above our deliverables by:
Providing additional support and advice outside the contract scope.
Remaining extremely flexible to adjust and offset required work in line with BEIS timelines.
Undertaking additional packages of work at no extra cost.
Upon completion we will have delivered over 30,000 individual checks, delivered by a capable and agile team over a nine-month period. Our partnership with BEIS allowed them to address a critical project without delay and our flexible engagement approach has ensured the BEIS team has been able to hit their objectives with assurance of the Covid-19 business grants programme.
Key winning features of our solution included:
This unique and extremely successful solution saw us deliver effective business services onshore in the UK, with quality teams stood up quickly, at a low fixed cost compared with traditional consulting services.
We limited any risk of delay or inaccuracies in the project by engaging with an experienced recruitment sector consultancy.
We employed a milestone-based cost model which offered BEIS certainty that they would only pay for work completed, something unavailable through a classic contingent workforce solution.
We offered ready deployment of high-quality talent, thanks to our extensive networks and casework specific contractor accounts. This enabled Consultancy+ to utilise established relationships in managing caseworkers for these roles, thus ensuring high-quality work.
We developed wellbeing solutions to support continuous improvement. As the 2021 Talint ‘candidate experience’ award winner, we understand the importance of supporting contractors in their roles, offering a version of the benefits that would normally be part of a permanent position. As such, our wellbeing programmes for the BEIS’ contractors were a key part of retaining talent, ensuring resource continuity and ultimately speedier project completion.
Find out more about our business process outsourcing solution, or get in touch with one of our experts to talk through your needs.