Digital Connectivity Programme

Delivered by the Local Government Association (LGA), the Digital Connectivity Programme is a grant funded programme that builds your council’s skills and capacity to take advantage of the opportunities offered by connectivity to your local place and communities.

Decorative banner titled 'Digital connectivity programme'

The programme will support councils to innovate their connectivity offer to give residents, local businesses and their workforce better connections to meet the challenges of further reliance on the internet exposed through the covid-19 pandemic. The inaugural year of the programme will look to support six local authorities from across urban and rural settings to leverage their position as place shapers to improve their connectivity offer. Lessons learnt will be shared throughout local government over the course of the programme.

Applications will be welcomed from 12 October 2020 for funding from English councils and bids involving councils working in partnership are encouraged. The Application period will conclude on 12 November 2020.

For further information: Digital Connectivity Programme prospectus

Frequently asked questions

Does the geographical location of my council effect eligibility?

This grant funded programme is only open to English councils – however learning from the programme will shared with the sector with the LGA establishing a future collaboration community and working group for digital connectivity.

Are there any funding requirements in order to receive the grant funding?

The council applying for the grant will have to confirm they are willing to match fund the same amount they are bidding for. Each council is entitled to up to £20,000 of grant funding.

Who can I partner with and how should this contribute to the proposal?

The bid should be led by a council and can be in partnership with either a private or third sector organisation. The primary focus of the proposal needs to improve connectivity potential or capacity. Any other separate objectives or goals as a result of the project are welcomed as long as they do not compromise the connectivity improvement focus. This would add value and further merit to the submission.

How long do I have to apply?

Applications will be welcomed from 12 October 2020 for funding one bid per LA/Group of councils/partnerships. Application period will conclude on 12 November 2020 at 5pm.

How does the monitoring work and what outcomes will we need to produce?

The LGA will work with the council(s) to deliver the desired outcome of the project and will assist in the identification of financial and social benefits to staff, residents and the local community.

Furthermore, the team will work with councils to produce case studies, blogs, articles for each project and find opportunities for participants to speak and share the learning and impact of the project to the wider sector. Under this programme, products and learning will be made open source and disseminated within the sector.

How does the funding work for regional councils looking to submit a bid?

If you applied as a partnership you would be entitled to just one £20k grant and then the match funding proposed by you could come from all councils to increase the total project fund.

Alternatively, if councils submit a bid and neighbouring authorities have also, the LGA would look to group regional bids to have maximum impact. This is because our grant funded programmes look to distribute funds to various tiers, geographical locations and political makeup of councils - thus we would favour a regional partnership bid over 2 or 3 individual bids from councils in close proximity as it would enable us to offer the opportunity of support across the country to more local authorities and consolidate local efforts.

What if I use local unique funding pots open to my council for the match funding?

If you are planning to use a central government funding grant to match fund your contribution, your proposal will not likely be successful as the purpose of this programme is to fund innovative proof of concepts or improvement projects that would be completed independent of government funding. If you are able to justify why your local unique funding pot can be used, then we may consider applications on a case by case basis in the selection process.  

If my proposal is already funded and established, would my application be successful? 

If this is the case, your proposal wouldn’t be available for funding as we are looking to fund original ideas that would not have otherwise been funded without the support of this programme. We are looking for innovative, original projects that rely on grant funding opportunities and this type of support to give councils the space, resource and confidence to try something new. If you are able to justify why your project requires further funding, then we may consider applications on a case by case basis in the selection process.

Can we match fund with council officer time as the resource?

We are looking for match funding to be financial. This is partly due to the amount of funding we are able to offer each council; your input would help add a substantial base to the project fund to enable a more enhanced outcome for the council. A proposal does not have to apply for the full £20k and we will be considering bids that ask for below the maximum amount which would reduce the amount of cash contribution you would have to make for the programme.