The Local Digital C-19 Challenge

Using data and digital tools to support COVID-19 recovery across local government

MHCLG’s Local Digital Collaboration Unit is making funding available for data and digital projects to help local authorities in England with their COVID-19 recovery and renewal efforts.

This government funding of up to £800,000 in total is aimed at supporting Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) projects that look to combat the challenges faced by local government as a direct result of COVID-19.

The Challenge is now closed, but you can read about the successful projects in this blog post. You can also follow the progress of the funded projects on this webpage and on Medium.

The challenge

We are launching this fund to respond to the need for digital and data-enabled approaches to council operations post-COVID-19.

We invite applications in three thematic areas:

  • Data and reporting
  • Community engagement
  • Developing new working practices

Applications do not need to have a pure technology focus – please refer to the Local Digital Declaration to understand the principles we encourage in every project.

Key criteria

Projects are expected to deliver a product or outcome directly related to a COVID-19 challenge within 2 months. Project outputs must be relevant to, and reusable by, other councils.

Project applications must be submitted by a council or a group of councils.

The successful project teams will be expected to work closely with MHCLG staff, as well as digital and data professionals from the private sector, throughout the duration of the project. The procurement of services will take place once the successful projects have been chosen.

Refer to the Challenge Prospectus for more information on the criteria.

Applications will not be considered if they only seek to deliver value for one council, focus on filling Business as Usual (BAU) funding gaps, or cannot demonstrate a clear link to COVID-19 recovery and renewal.

There will not be any further rounds of funding for COVID-19 challenges. The Local Digital Fund will continue as a route for funding digital innovation projects in councils.

Who can apply

This challenge is open to local authorities in England only. Lead applicants and partner organisations must be Local Digital Declaration signatories.

How to apply

Applications for the Local Digital COVID-19 Challenge are now closed.

The application process will have two stages:

  1. Complete the application form. If you need to prepare your responses to the application questions, an offline form is available to download in .docx or .odt format.
  2. Attend a panel interview by video call

For more information, please refer to the Challenge Prospectus.

You can also find answers to your questions about the Challenge, including how this differs from previous rounds of funding.

Key dates

1 July 2020

Applications open: complete the application form

6 July 2020

Q&A session on the #mhclg-fund Slack channel in the LocalGovDigital workspace from 1 – 2pm

15 July 2020

Applications close at 5pm

21-22 July 2020

Panel Interviews

Help and further information

We will be announcing more information on our channels over the coming weeks:

Supplier information

We will be organising a supplier engagement event once shortlisting has begun.