Rural Business Grants of up to £4,999

Rural Business Development Grant Scheme 2022 - Guidance Notes

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme
Rural Business Development Grant Scheme 2022

GUIDANCE NOTES

The Rural Business Development Grant Scheme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) as part of the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme.

The Scheme is being administered by local Councils

Section 1 Introduction

1.1 Background to Grant Programme

The Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme’s (TRPSI) Rural Business Development Grant Scheme aims to support the sustainability, recovery and development of rural micro-businesses across Northern Ireland by providing a small capital grant for the business. The TRPSI Programme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and this grant Programme is administered and managed by local Councils.

An online system has been developed for the 2022 Scheme and all eligible business must attend a pre-funding workshop and submit their application online. Details of pre-funding workshops are available by contacting your local Council. The application form link will be made available from 4 May 2022.

1.2 Level of Grant Aid

The Scheme can provide funding of up to 50% of costs for capital items up to a maximum of £4,999. The minimum grant awarded will be £500. The total cost of the capital project must be a minimum of £1,000 and must not exceed £20,000. Applicants must provide the remaining match funding towards the project.

This is a competitive process and all grants awarded will be determined on the basis of merit.

1.3 Who Can Apply?

Grants are available to support the recovery, sustainability and development of existing micro businesses based in rural areas who have not previously received funding under the TRPSI Rural Business Development Scheme 2021, which was administered by local Councils.

You can apply for a Rural Business Development Grant if:

  • The business is based in a rural area of Northern Ireland. A rural area is defined as an area with a population of less than 5,000 residents, plus the areas of Strathfoyle, Newbuildings and Culmore in Derry/Londonderry Urban Area (OUA) and Milltown, Helens Bay, Crawfordsburn and Groomsport in the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area (BMUA). If you are unsure if you are in an eligible rural area, please contact your local Council office before submitting your application.
  • You are an existing, registered private Business or Social Economy Enterprise that is actively trading commercially; evidenced by providing your self-assessment number or Limited Company details and sales turnover details.
  • You have not received funding under the TRPSI Rural Business Development Scheme 2021. Businesses that received funding under the TRPSI Rural Business Development Scheme in 2019 and in 2020 are eligible to apply.
  • Your business currently employs less than 10 full-time equivalent employees (based on full time 30 hours per week and part time at least 16 hours per week).
  • You are appropriately insured or prepared to obtain appropriate insurance if awarded a grant (building, contents or public liability insurance as appropriate). No evidence of this is required at application stage, but you will be asked to confirm insurance cover at grant claim stage and provide it should your claim be selected for an audit check.
  • You have a dedicated bank account used by the business. No evidence of this is required at application stage, but you must confirm you have this as part of your application declaration. Bank statements showing payments clearing from this dedicated bank account are required at claim stage.
  • You have attended a pre-funding workshop before the application call closes. Details of workshops are available by contacting your local Council using the details in Appendix 1.  You can provide a detailed specification and two ‘like for like’ quotations for each item to be purchased which meet the guidance stated in section 1.7.
  • You can complete your project before 31 October 2022. It is anticipated that grant offers will be made in late August / early September 2022. Your project cannot commence until you receive a formal offer of funding. Projects must be completed by 31 October 2022, with all works completed, onsite and operational, paid and through the bank account by this date.
  • You are aged 18 or above at the application deadline. You may be asked to provide evidence of this at some point in the assessment process, if you are awarded a Letter of Offer. 
  • Only one application can be accepted per business/ legal entity.
  • Sports Clubs and Community Groups can only be considered if they are commercially trading and generate sales revenue from selling goods and services to customers who are not exclusively Club or Community Group members. The grant can only be used to support the sustainability, survival and/or development of this commercial element, and not for the club or community group on its own. Projects that can be supported from other funding sources, such as Sport NI, are not eligible to be considered under this scheme.

1.4 Who Cannot Apply?

The grant scheme cannot support:

  • Businesses based in urban areas.
  • Businesses who have received financial assistance from the TRPSI Rural Business Development Grant Scheme 2021.
  • New start businesses who have yet to commence trading (all business sectors).
  • Farmers, or anyone registered to a Category 1 DAERA Business ID, undertaking mainstream agricultural activity.
  • Farm diversification projects where the diversified activity has not started trading.

All other existing registered businesses and social economy enterprises (that are commercially trading) based in a rural area are eligible to apply for support.

1.5 What can be funded?

This is a capital grant scheme to support the purchase of new capital items of equipment or machinery or to set up an e-commerce website. The minimum spend on one, or a combination of, eligible items is £1,000 and your project must not cost more than £20,000. If you are VAT registered, the lower and upper thresholds are based on net cost of items. If you are not VAT registered, the lower and upper thresholds are based on gross cost of items.

The maximum number of items, or grouping of items that you can purchase under this scheme is six.

Examples of eligible expenditure includes:

  • Computer equipment, eg computer, laptop, printer.
  • Computer software (outright purchase; ongoing license fees are not eligible).
  • E-commerce Websites to allow online purchase capabilities.
  • New equipment/ machinery.
  • Mobile machinery, such as scissor lifts, forklifts, ride-on lawn mowers.
  • Covid-19 business recovery equipment, including free standing screens and hand sanitizer units (the hand sanitizer is not eligible).

1.6 What cannot be funded?

The following items cannot be funded under the Scheme:

  • Equipment or machinery costing less than £1,000 or more than £20,000. Individual items may cost less than £1,000, but you must have a minimum eligible spend of at least £1,000 through a combination of items.
  • Second hand equipment, including refurbished equipment.
  • Servicing of existing equipment.
  • General maintenance or refurbishment works.
  • Capital Improvements, building works, refurbishments of any property (commercial or residential) or any project that requires Building Control permission or planning permission.
  • Purchase of port-a-cabins, pods or any other building.
  • Labour costs not directly associated with the installation of purchased equipment or build of e-commerce websites.
  • Projects that have already started prior to a Letter of Offer.
  • Any resource items, such as marketing materials, information websites (with no online purchasing capabilities), training courses, feasibility studies.
  • Motorised vehicles, including vans, lorries, cars, boats, bikes, quads or any other form of motorised mobile vehicles that can used as a means of transport.
  • Any activity or action that is a statutory requirement of your business (eg for Health and Safety purposes such as Personal Protective Equipment) or the responsibility of another government department.
  • Business running costs, such as staff costs, rent, rates, electric, insurance, stock.
  • Bank interest charges, referral fees and foreign currency transaction charges.
  • Consumable items used by businesses that are replaced regularly because they wear out or are used up (for example hand sanitiser, masks, gloves, visors, high-visibility vests for staff, printer ink).
  • Equipment related to the provision of additional bed space for existing accommodation providers.
  • Staff Uniforms or clothing, including personal protective items.

Please note this list is not exhaustive, your local Council Officer can speak to you about your individual project.

1.7 What should I submit with my application?

Your application form must be fully completed online and all supporting procurement documentation uploaded to the online system – this includes all quotes, specifications and supplier e-mails.

  1. A detailed specification for each item you are applying for, if the quotations supplied are not for identical items.
  2. A minimum of 2 quotes/price-checks for each item you are applying for.
Total Estimated Cost per Item Action & Minimum Number
Up to £5,000 At least 2 price-checks per item from different suppliers / internet quotations
£5,001 - £20,000 At least 2 Written Quotes per item from different suppliers
(internet quotes cannot be used)

Procurement Guidance

  • A detailed specification should be prepared for each item to include delivery, installation costs if applicable. This is a detailed description of the design and/or materials used to make something or the minimum standard of workmanship and materials required to meet your needs. All suppliers invited to quote should be issued with the specification, and email evidence of this will be required, for example copy of email sent to supplier.
  • The online system only permits six budget lines so where it is possible to purchase items from the same supplier, you should group these items into the same specification.
  • At least 2 quotes from 2 separate suppliers should be sought for each item. You or a business that you are an owner/partner/director of, are excluded from quoting for the supply of goods, services or works to a project that you may be offered funding for.
  • If quotations are being sought or provided from any member of your family or extended family then the relationship must be advised in writing to the Council prior to any procurement activity and evidence provided within the procurement documentation. In these cases, you are required to provide 3 quotes i.e. two independent quotes in addition to the family member quote to provide sufficient comparison of costs under the reasonableness of costs rules within the scheme.
  • Quotes should be ‘like-for-like’, particularly where items are specific e.g. laptop / IT / machinery etc. Quotations for the same make and model of products are acceptable and should be obtained where possible. Both quotations must meet the specification provided and demonstrate ‘like for like’ comparison in order to verify value for money.
  • Ensure that all costs are quoted and accounted for, e.g. delivery and installation costs should be part of the quote.
  • Email quotes are acceptable and the covering email from suppliers must be provided.
  • Quotes must be dated prior to close of call and within three months of the date the application is submitted and must contain the supplier’s name and contact details.
  • Internet quotes must be sent with your application if this is the procurement method used for items under £5,000. These can be printed and scanned in or saved as screen prints. The supplier, web address and cost should be clearly visible from print outs provided. Do not simply list website addresses/ provide links to websites as we will not check these. Please clarify if the costs provided are inclusive or exclusive of VAT.
  • If VAT is applicable to the items quoted, this should be clearly noted on the quotations to establish total project costs.
  • The lowest quotation should be selected with corresponding costs detailed on the application form. Successful applicants will be paid funding on 50% of the procurement submitted, or of the final price of the item – whichever is the lowest amount. Any price increases between procurement and point of purchase must be borne by the applicant.
  • Quotes in other currencies should be compared using the rate of exchange and date of quote through the X-Rates website.
  • The cost of procurement for a capital item or an e-commerce website must be calculated as the total cost of the item. Procurement must be undertaken for complete items and not be split into individual components or phases of work. For example: A single procurement exercise should be undertaken for the build of a specialist computer to a particular specification. Procurement of individual components e.g. motherboard is not permitted.
  • All Quotations must be submitted at the time of application. These must be uploaded and clearly labelled. Links to electronic file storage services such as iCloud or dropbox are not acceptable.
  • The copies of the quotations must be of readable condition.

Please note: Council officers, DAERA officers and Programme auditors may contact suppliers of quotations and / or invoices to verify that the quotation / invoice has been provided to the applicant as part of audit checks at application and grant claim stage. Any quotation / invoice that cannot be verified by the supplier, will be passed to DAERA Fraud Department for further investigation.

Summary of procurement documents you need to upload with your online application before submitting Y
A specification for each item you’re applying for  
2 quotes for each item you’re applying for (so your cheapest quote plus one other for comparison)  
For each item - if you emailed your specification to suppliers, upload the cover email(s) you sent the spec out in.  
For each item - if you received quotes back from suppliers by email, upload the cover email(s) received from each supplier.  

Application Submission

Your application and supporting documents must be submitted via the online application system and uploaded by 12noon on Tuesday 31 May 2022. The online system closes at this date and time and therefore no late applications will be accepted. It is recommended that you register, complete and submit your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

If you require any additional help, please contact your local Council listed at Appendix 1. (see downloadable pdf version)

The application form link will be available online and through your local Council on 4 May 2022.

Late applications cannot be accepted.

Section 2: How to answer the questions

All sections of your application form must be completed as fully and concisely as possible as this information will be used in the assessment of your project proposal. Incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible and will not be assessed for funding. Please note maximum word limits per question.

Applicant Details
(a) Please state trading name of business
(b) Please state contact name and details
(c) Please provide the status of your business and confirmation that you are running a registered business by selecting 1 of the options and completing the details in full

Business Overview
(a) Please state the date your business commenced trading.
(b) Please provide your sales turnover for the last complete financial year, or year to date.
(c) Please state your business address, if different to contact address. Please remember that the project must be in a defined rural area of the Council to be eligible for grant aid.
(d) Please tick what sector your business operates in.
(e) Please provide an overview of your current business activities, including a description of the range of products or services offered, where you sell (eg physical location, own website, 3rd party websites etc), types of customer (commercial / private and your target market) and any export sales (percentage of overall sales and destination).
(f) Please enter the current number of full-time and part-time employees (including yourself if applicable). Full-time employees must work at least 30 hours per week in the business and part-time is a minimum of 16 hours per week.
Note – in order to be eligible, the business or enterprise must employ less than 10 full-time equivalent employees. Contact your Council officer if you need help to calculate your full-time equivalent staff numbers.
(g) Please state if your business has been impacted by COVID 19. If you answer yes, please provide brief details to explain how it was impacted.

Project Details
(a) Please enter a short title for your project (e.g. Business Expansion, Business Sustainability)
(b) Please provide an overview of the current business activity and describe the proposed project, detailing any changes to existing business activities, including any new products and services, new customers or markets or selling methods as a result of implementing it. Please explain why you need to carry out your proposed project and what the demand is for your project, including any customer feedback or market research. Maximum 2500 characters.
(c) Please outline what the anticipated outcomes of implementing your project will be over the next 12 months. You should complete all text boxes and provide specific and relevant details on the impact as a result of your proposed project – eg state number of jobs sustained / created, what roles these are, percentage or value of any increase in sales.
(d) Please outline the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on your business, and detail how your project will support your business to recover from this.
(e) Please provide details of the skills and experience which you or your organisation has that will assist you to carry out the proposed project. In particular, you should comment on general management, marketing and financial experience and any relevant training/mentoring undertaken or qualifications held. You should provide as much information as possible. Maximum 2500 characters.

Project Costs
(a) Tick as appropriate, enter your business VAT registration number if applicable. Ensure it is in the correct format e.g. XI 123456789
(b) Please provide details of the quotes that you have obtained in respect of the individual items you wish to purchase. You must follow the procurement process detailed in the guidance notes (see section 1.7) and upload the specification and quotes with your application. The online system only permits six budget lines so you may wish to group similar items together in one specification, ensuring items are like for like. Please provide NET cost for each item.
(c) Please provide details of the items/activities you require funding for.
Note – maximum total cost is £20,000 and maximum grant request is £4,999. The maximum total cost of £20,000 is net if you are VAT registered and gross if you are not VAT registered.
If your business or enterprise is not VAT registered, you may apply for 50% up to £4,999 of the GROSS cost (i.e. the cost including VAT).
If your business or enterprise is VAT registered, you can only apply for 50% up to £4,999 of the NET cost (cost excluding VAT).
(d) Please detail the source of your match funding for the project. Please note that if issued a Letter of Offer, the total project costs will be incurred by the business prior to submitting a claim for up to 50% of the eligible expenditure retrospectively.
NOTE – your match funding will be for the NET costs if you are VAT registered and GROSS costs if you are not VAT registered.

Project Timescales
Please confirm if you can complete your project by 31 October 2022, to include project items purchased, onsite and operational, and paid and cleared your nominated bank account by this date.
Note – projects which have already commenced are ineligible for funding. Your project cannot commence until a Letter of Offer is released (anticipated late August / early September 2022).

 

De Minimis Aid Declaration

Please read the State / De-Minims Aid declaration carefully. Complete details of all De-Minims aid received in the last 3 fiscal years. Please note that this may include grant funding (for example COVID-19 government support grants*, Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme, Intertrade Ireland or Invest NI) and also business support programmes (such as GoForIt and local Council mentoring programmes). Complete the declaration in full.

* COVID-19 government support grants for the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure sector (£25,000), self-employment grant scheme and micro business hardship scheme must be declared on your declaration. Payments through the furlough scheme, and the Small Business Grant Scheme (£10,000) do not need to be declared as these are not considered De-Minimis aid.

Checklist
Please tick to confirm what you are submitting with your application.

Declarations
Please read the declaration carefully and complete it in full.

Section 3 - How we assess and score your application

3.0 Overview

Every application received will be assessed to ensure the following:

  • To ensure that the business/ social economy enterprise is eligible to apply to this particular Scheme.
  • To ensure each applicant’s capability to deliver the proposal, and
  • To determine how well the proposal meets the business’s needs and supports the business recovery, sustainability and growth.

An acknowledgement receipt will be issued to you automatically once your submission has been received. The Council will assess your application for eligibility. If your application is eligible to apply for grant aid, it will be forwarded for full assessment and scored against the stated criteria.

3.1 Eligibility Assessment

If the applicant, based on the information supplied, is able to satisfy the Council of their eligibility, they will progress to the next part of the process.

3.2 What if an application is not eligible?

If your application is not eligible, you will be notified immediately and the reasons will be outlined to you. Your application will not proceed to assessment and scoring.

If an applicant is not eligible for funding through the Programme, they may wish to contact the Council, who will help signpost to other sources of support.

3.3 Assessment and Scoring

If the applicant, based on the information supplied, is able to satisfy the eligibility criteria, they will be scored according to established assessment criteria shown in the table below.

Score Comment
5
Excellent
Response is completely relevant and excellent overall. The response is comprehensive, unambiguous and demonstrates a thorough understanding of the requirement and provides details of how the requirement will be met in full.
4
Good
Response is relevant and good. The response is sufficiently detailed to demonstrate a good understanding and provides details on how the requirements will be fulfilled. Good supporting evidence supplied.
3 Acceptable Response is relevant. The response addresses a broad understanding of the requirement but may lack details on how the requirement will be fulfilled in certain areas.
2
Poor
Response is partially relevant but generally poor. The response addresses some elements of the requirement but contains insufficient/limited detail or explanation to demonstrate how the requirement will be fulfilled. A response with reservations.
1
Very Poor
Response is partially relevant but generally very poor. The response addresses some elements of the requirement but contains insufficient/limited detail or explanation to demonstrate how the requirement will be fulfilled. An unacceptable response with serious reservations.
0 Unacceptable Nil or inadequate response. Fails to address the question or demonstrate an ability to meet the requirement.

The application will be assessed against 5 criteria, with each criterion attracting a score between 0-5. Each question is weighted, and the score obtained will be multiplied by the weight to get an overall score out of a possible 100. The criteria and weighting are:

Criteria (a) Sscore out of a possible 5 (b) Wweighting Overall Score
(a x b)
Project Need: Clear and concise evidence of the need for the project within the scope of the fund   X 6 /30
Covid-19 Recovery: Clear assessment of impact of pandemic on business and project identified supports business recovery   X2 /10
Economic Impact: Clear and realistic outcomes set for the project e.g. sustaining existing employment, income generation, new markets entered, new products or services introduced   X4 /20
Project Experience / Management Strength: Ability, skills and experience of the business which enables them to deliver the project   X 4 /20
Innovation: Project demonstrates innovation in the marketplace or in business practices   X 2 /10
SUB- TOTAL     /90
Previous Funding: Has the applicant received TRPSI funding in the 2019 or 2020 Rural Business Development Grant Schemes?
If yes, score is 0 points
If no, score is 10 points

Note: if funding was received in the 2021 Rural Business Development Grant Scheme, the project is ineligible.
 
TOTAL /100

Applications must score at least 65 marks to be considered for funding.

Applicants will be ranked according to score obtained and available funding allocated to highest ranking applications. Applicants who fail to achieve a score of at least 65 marks will be advised that they have been unsuccessful. Applicants who score above 65 marks, but who do not score high enough to be awarded funding due to lack of available funding will be notified of this.

3.4 How decisions are made

When the scores are finalised, the applications may be presented to your local Council.

Successful/unsuccessful applicants will be notified at this stage.

3.5 What happens if an application is successful?

If an application is successful, Council will issue an electronic Letter of Offer which is a legal agreement with the business to deliver on the proposals outlined in their application form.

If successful, businesses must attend a Letter of Offer workshop which will explain the processes and procedures that relate to Programme monitoring, submitting a financial claim, requesting changes, promoting DAERA’s support for the Programme, monitoring and evaluation requirements and the process of verification. This workshop may be delivered remotely (e.g. via Zoom or another online meeting platform).

Signed Letters of Offer must be accepted electronically within 10 working days of attending the Letter of Offer workshop. You cannot accept your Letter of Offer until you attend the workshop.

This grant funding scheme is retrospective and therefore costs will only be reimbursed once items are purchased, paid in full and a grant claim submitted and processed. Applicants will have to provide invoices and show evidence of payment of invoices through their bank account as part of the claim process. Items should be paid through the bank account which is registered to receive grant funding. Invoices in another currency should be claimed in sterling and backed up by the rate of exchange, date of exchange and name of bank used to provide the rate of exchange.

Hire purchase arrangements and cash payments cannot be accepted. Online payments made by credit card, must have the full project item cost (not only the grant element) cleared in full through the nominated bank account by the project end date of no later than 31 October 2022. A copy of the credit card statement and bank statement showing the full amount clearing must be provided. The next credit card statement showing the amount cleared may also be requested.

The grant claim form must be completed online and supporting documents, including invoices, bank statements and photographs of the items purchased uploaded by 11 November 2022.

Projects must be complete, good onsite and operational, paid in full and cleared the bank account by 31 October 2022 and claim submitted by 11 November 2022 or the project will be deemed ineligible and no grant payment will be made.

Please note: Council officers, DAERA officers and Programme auditors may contact suppliers of quotations and/or invoices to verify that the quotation / invoice has been provided to the applicant and payment received by the supplier, as part of the audit checks at application and grant claim stage. Any quotation / invoice that cannot be verified by the supplier, will be passed to DAERA Fraud Department for further investigation.

Businesses are required to provide information on the impact of their project on project completion. You are required to submit photographic evidence with your claim and officers from your local Council, DAERA or audit officials may arrange post project visits to verify spend and discuss the monitoring information with the businesses that were funded.

3.6 What happens if an application is unsuccessful?

If an application is not successful, officers from the Council will discuss the application with you and may provide practical developmental support to address areas of concern.

An Appeals Process/Review Procedure is also available if an application is unsuccessful. The purpose of this is to ensure that the decisions taken and procedures followed for individual applications are applied fairly and consistently.

The Review will provide an independent process through which an applicant will have the opportunity to submit information to the Review Panel indicating that either:

  • the outcome was unreasonable or;
  • the proper procedures were not followed.

Appeals on any other grounds will not be considered.

3.7 Grant Application Assessment Schedule

The Programme will be open for applications as follows:

Opening date: Wednesday 4 May 2022 at 9am

Closing date: Tuesday 31 May 2022 at 12 noon

Late applications cannot be accepted under any circumstances. The application form must be fully completed online and all required supporting documentation uploaded or the application will not be considered.

You are encouraged to submit your application well in advance of the closing date / time to avoid technical difficulties which could result in deeming your application ineligible.

The Programme will follow this eight step administrative process:

Step 1 Open call for applications is made
Step 2 Potential applicants attends mandatory pre-application workshop
Step 3 Applications are submitted online and supporting documentation uploaded
Step 4 Applications are assessed
Step 5 Letters of Offer are issued and applicant attends Letter of Offer workshop
Step 6 Letters of Offer are returned within 14 days from date of the Workshop
Step 7 Projects are completed and paid in full by applicant
Step 8 Grant claim is submitted online and supporting documentation uploaded for Council checking.
Step 9 Grant payment is made directly to applicant

3.8 Application Process

All applications for financial assistance should be submitted online and supporting documentation uploaded. If you require any help, please contact your relevant Council detailed at Appendix 1. (see downloadable pdf version)

It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that their full application is submitted prior to the advertised time and date of closing, being 12 noon on Tuesday 31 May 2022. The online system cannot accept applications after this date and time. No exceptions will be made and there is no recourse to appeal.

The application will be assessed against Programme objectives and the project selection criteria set out by the Councils.

Projects that meet the criteria will be considered for financial assistance on a competitive basis, and if approved, a Letter of Offer setting out the terms and conditions of the assistance will be issued.


Appendix 2 - Additional Information for Applicants

1. Publication of Data

If your application is successful and your project is awarded funding, please note that DAERA may publicise details of all financial support awarded/paid out to beneficiaries. This will include the name of the beneficiary, their postal town, their post code and the total amount of financial support received by the beneficiary from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

Details of all applications (successful and unsuccessful) will be submitted to your local Council and applicant details will be published as part of the Council report, which are accessible to the public.

2. Data Protection Act

  • We will use the information you give us on the application form during assessment and for the life of any grant we award you to administer and analyse grants and for our own research.
  • All information submitted in your application form, supporting documentation and any future claim will be made available to the funding organisation, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the administrative organisation – your local Council.
  • We may give copies of this information to individuals and organisations we consult when assessing applications, when monitoring grants and evaluating the way our funding programmes work and the effect they have. These organisations may include accountants, external evaluators, external auditors and other organisations or groups involved in delivering the project.
  • We may also share information with other government departments, including Invest Northern Ireland, organisations providing match funding and other organisations and individuals with a legitimate interest in applications and grants, or for the prevention or detection of fraud.
  • We might use the data you provide for our own research. We recognise the need to maintain the confidentiality of vulnerable groups and their details will not be made public in any way, except as required by law.

3 Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives members of the public the right to request any information that we hold, subject to certain exemption that may apply. This includes information received from third parties, such as, although not limited to, grant applicants, grant holders and contractors. If information is requested under the Freedom of Information Act we will release it, subject to exemptions; although we may consult with you first. If you think that information you are providing may be exempt from release if requested, you should let us know when you apply. For further information please visit the Information Commissioner’s Office.

4 Equality Considerations

Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) and Equality Monitoring

Under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) DAERA has a statutory obligation to promote equality of opportunity between: persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, martial status or sexual orientation; men and women; persons with a disability and persons without; and persons with dependents and persons without.

The Act also requires DAERA to take into account the promotion of good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.

To meet its statutory obligations, DAERA has to continuously monitor and assess the equality uptake and outcomes of its policies and programmes, to determine if there are any adverse effects or consequences. And if there are, to look at ways to lessen these.

This equality monitoring is done through the completion of an equality monitoring on-line questionnaire by project beneficiaries once the funding has been awarded. DAERA is legally required to conduct this monitoring, but it is voluntary for beneficiaries to complete the questionnaire, which will be anonymous and confidential.

The information collected will only be used for Equality Monitoring purposes and in compliance with The Data Protection Act. The details on this form will not be used in the decision to award funding to any person/group who applies to the Scheme, nor will this form be linked in any way to details of individual participants.

All beneficiaries are encouraged to complete the form as it will greatly help DAERA comply with its statutory duty and in its assessment of the equality uptake and outcomes of the Scheme across different groups of people.

5 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) - When you apply for Rural Business Development Capital Grant Scheme we will ask for some personal information because, for example, your personal email address or telephone number is used on the applicant organisation’s behalf. When you provide this information it is processed in adherence with the GDPR, Data Protection Act 2018 as well as the scheme’s Terms and Conditions to enable us to communicate with you about the application.

DAERA and our delivery agents take data protection and freedom of information issues seriously. We take care to ensure that any personal information supplied is dealt with in a way which complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation. This means that any personal information you supply will be processed principally for the purpose for which it has been provided. However, DAERA may also use it for other legitimate purposes in line with the Data Protection Act 2018 and Freedom of Information legislation. These include:

  • Occupational health and welfare;
  • Compilation of statistics;
  • Disclosure to other organisations when required by law to do so;
  • Disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 where such disclosure is in the public interest;
  • The prevention and detection of fraud or maladministration (e.g. The Comptroller & Auditor General and HM Revenue & Customs).

For further details on your privacy see the DAERA Privacy Statement.