The application process to the Improvement Fund is as follows:

Stage 1: Expression of Interest

The open call for Expressions of Interest (EoI) will begin on 1 September and end
22 September. We are open to accepting EoI forms between and including these dates. Applicants who have read the guidance document (PDF) and believe they fulfil all the eligibility and criteria requirements should complete the EoI form. The form provides guidance on what we expect to be included in each section.

The EoI form has been designed to be light touch and give you the opportunity to briefly outline your project idea and how it fits with the main criteria.

Successful applicants will be invited to complete a full application form.

Please note that any other documents submitted to the Improvement Fund other than our EoI form will not be considered.

Stage 2: Application form

Successful applicants from Stage 1 will be invited to complete a full application form, along with a project plan and budget breakdown[1]. Applicants will be expected to provide detailed budgetary information on the total cost of the project, what the funds will cover and details of any co-funding or matched funding. Please note that you should factor in any potential changes in salaries at this point as we will be unable to accommodate any such changes after the award has been made.

All applications should be signed by an individual authorised by the Lead Organisation to submit applications and sign contracts on its behalf.

Please note that any other documents submitted to the Improvement Fund other than our application form will not be considered.

Stage 3: Interviews

All applicants who have submitted an application form will be expected to participate in an informal interview to have the opportunity to discuss their project idea and provide more information around questions that have arisen during assessment.

The interviews will take place between 8–19 January 2018. Before applying please make sure you can be available for an interview between these dates.

We expect the key members identified in the application to participate in the interview. Those who participate in the interview should be those people who will be actively involved in the implementation of the improvement project.

Following the interviews, we will hold a moderation session to make a final decision on the successful projects.

If you wish to find out more about our selection process, please contact

Stage 4: Award

Successful applicants will receive a formal, written offer letter which will outline the amount awarded (in some cases this may vary from the amount initially requested but this would be discussed first with the applicant) and the phasing that was agreed with the project team.

You can find an example of our award letter on our website.

Subject to satisfactory progress updates, the phased payments will be made to the Lead Organisation throughout the project. The Lead Organisation will be responsible for administering the financial aspects of the award to any partner organisations in line with local agreements.

We will expect a full expenditure report at the end of the project which is signed off by the relevant authorised finance officer. Any unspent funds must be returned to the Improvement Fund. If costs change over the funding period, or if unanticipated costs arise, this can be discussed with the Improvement Fund team. We are unlikely to approve any additional funds.

Please note that due to the way our funding is released, the start date for projects cannot be any earlier than 26 February 2018.

[1] We will also request financial information for non-public sector organisations to enable us to conduct finance checks. Please see the Financial checks section for more information.