Guidance

The GovTech Fund

The £20 million GovTech Fund is awarded via GovTech Catalyst competitions to develop, test and access innovative solutions to complex public sector problems.

The GovTech Fund comes out of the £4.7bn research and development allocation of the National Productivity and Investment Fund, held in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

BEIS transfers money from the GovTech Fund to GovTech Catalyst (GTC) challenge owners.

Read more about the GovTech Catalyst.

Fund transfers

All GovTech Fund funds are transferred using a main or supplementary budget estimate. Main budget estimate transfers take place in the spring (April or May). Supplementary budget estimates take place at the end of the year (November or December).

GovTech Fund transfers to central government and devolved administrations are governed by funding transfer requests. The GovTech Catalyst team works with the challenge owner’s accounting officer to request a budget transfer from the Senior Responsible Officer of the Fund at BEIS. BEIS must receive the budget transfer request by mid-March or mid-October.

There are extra steps based on whether the challenge owner is:

  • a local authority
  • part of central government
  • part of a devolved administration

Local authority in England

When the challenge owner is an English local authority or funded by a local authority, BEIS transfers GovTech funds using a section 31 grant. The GTC team gets approval for the grant from HM Treasury and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

BEIS transfers approved funds the next spring or autumn.

Once the funds are transferred, the local authority is responsible for the money.

Central government agency

When the challenge owner is a central government agency, BEIS transfers GovTech funds to their parent department.

Devolved administration or local authority in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

The process for transferring funds to challenge owners in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland depends on the devolved administration responsible.

Once the funds are transferred, the devolved administration is responsible as the accounting officer.

Scotland and Wales

BEIS transfers GovTech funds directly to the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly of Wales.

The devolved administration follows its usual process to transfer the funds to the challenge owner.

Northern Ireland

BEIS transfers GovTech funds directly to the Northern Ireland Executive.

The challenge owner will receive funding from their lead department within the Northern Ireland Executive.

The devolved administration follows its usual process to transfer the funds to the challenge owner.

Role of the GovTech Catalyst team

The GovTech Catalyst team works with BEIS, challenge owners and any other organisations involved to make sure funds are transferred correctly and on time.

Their work includes:

  • setting up the transfer schedule after a challenge is selected
  • providing funding transfer request templates for challenge owners to send to BEIS
  • handling replies from BEIS governance
  • completing section 31 documentation for transfers to local authorities

Challenge owners should contact the GovTech Catalyst team for questions about:

  • when funds will be transferred
  • how much will be transferred
  • what to do about underspends

They can also pass questions on to the BEIS finance team.

Published 18 February 2019