Rapid Delivery of COVID Restart Grant using Power Platform

The Background

On the 15th May 2020, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, agreed details of a new €250 million Restart Grant, that provides direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with re-opening and re-employing workers following COVID-19 closures.

The Grant is  available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5 million and employing 50 people or less, that were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover out to 30th June 2020. The Grant is a contribution towards the cost of reopening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers.

The Minister announced that the Local Authorities would be responsible for managing, processing, and paying the grant to qualified and eligible companies in their catchment area.

The Project

Dublin City Council engaged TEKenable to provide a minimum viable product (MVP) using Microsoft Power Platform that would allow Dublin City Council to provide a public-facing application portal to allow qualifying SME’s to submit their Re-start Grant application and to also provide a back-office application that would store the data securely and allow for the efficient, timely and secure processing of applications.

The Government announced the Re-start grant in mid-May 2020, and little or notice was provided to the Local Authorities that they would be responsible for processing the applications in their area. Dublin City Council IT staff were under extreme pressure to have a Grant Management application up and running in a very tight time frame. A system of this scale and size could have taken up to 3-6 months to scope out, design, develop, test and deploy, that fact that we delivered and went live with a working system in under a week is a great testament to the delivery capability of TEKenable, the proactive and very supportive DCC staff and the power of Microsoft Power Platform technology. The project is of course fully aligned with the Digital Citizen Services agenda enabling the public to interact with state and semi-state services online.

Restart Grant Sample Back Office Screen
Restart Grant Sample Back Office Screen

The solution comprises a Power Portal for applicants to register and make their application, which includes the upload of proof of account documentation and is stored on the Common Data Service. A back office Power App provides the workflow for the assessment of applications with verification of details, rejection and payment authorisation and (as shown below) a management Dashboard to allow the assessment team’s management to visualise the workload and progress.

The application process is mobile and tablet friendly and the whole system is accessible by DCC staff while they are working remotely with appropriate security.

Restart Grant Management Dashboard
Restart Grant Management Dashboard

The Outcome

The required MVP was delivered and live in one week from the initial request. Further functionality was added over the next few weeks and the system is rapidly changed to reflect additional needs and changes to the Restart grant rules as they arise.

The Re-start grant is essential to many businesses, without these funds, many may be unable to continue trading, so it is critical that the processing of applications is done in a seamless, quick and secure manner, whilst ensuring that only businesses who qualify for the grant receive it. TEKenable have helped and played their part in ensuring that these businesses will be up and running as the COVID-19 lockdown constraints are lifted but we could never have achieved this in a week without Microsoft Power Platform.

Padraig McCarthy – Sales Director – TEKenable

While clearly the project described here is COVID related this is only one point solution built on the Power Platform. This project has firmly demonstrated the benefits of a Low Code solution including speed and cost of delivery, out of the box functionality and a fully managed platform and other non-COVID related projects have already been identified for the platform.

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