"An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said the new portal was launched on April 9 to administer the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, of between £10,000 or £25,000 per business, in response to acute challenges firms were facing.
Using a mostly automated system, the Eastbourne and Lewes councils processed 2,642 grants - to the total value of nearly £34.1m - by the first week of May."
"Eastbourne Borough Council said the system has built in measures to save time on processing ineligible applications and protect against exploitation of grants, which has presented a risk to many councils across the UK due to the pressure to distribute money quickly."
“The LGSS Revenues and Benefits Partnership have engaged Ascendant Solutions, at short notice on both the Business Grants process and the recent Test and Trace payments. Working with them as a partner in delivering these time-restricted support schemes has minimised the impact on our officers in terms of much of our thinking being supported by the development of form portals. Flexibility and a can do attitude where our requirements differ across our partner organisations has also been a massive benefit.”
“With the pressure to deliver grant aid to businesses, at pace, many authorities collected the data required on a web form and then manually processed the applications. By using Grant Approval an automated system by Ascendant Solutions we significantly reduced the staff resource required, prevented fraudulent applications and got the payments to most businesses within four working days of an application, supporting our local economy.”
“Having administered the small business and retail, hospitality and leisure grants manually, using Ascendant for the discretionary grants was a welcomed solution that made them so simple. All the information we needed was there at the click of a few buttons. The portal was easy to use and made the administration and payment of the grants quick and easy once a decision had been made. The flexibility we had when building the discretionary schemes was extremely useful as we were in control of what we wanted to ask and what information we needed. The Ascendant team are extremely helpful and any questions are quickly answered and any changes needed are made seamlessly. For me, there was no question who we would look to when the Test & Trace payments scheme came out. Again, excellent product and service.”
“I have to say that the experience with Ascendant to date has been exemplary. Without the solution offered by Ascendant, it is difficult to see how we would have coped with the administration of so many grants for businesses running in parallel. The fact that the system is self-contained has meant that we are able to ring fence this work and separate it from the day to day administration of business rates. Of particular benefit are the pre-built applications for national schemes and the fact that Ascendant have engaged directly with BEIS to remove some of the headaches associated with the ever increasing reporting demands.”
“Dudley MBC started using Ascendant Solutions for the administration of Business Rates Grants from the national lockdown period commencing in November 2020. The Grant Approval system streamlines the application process, allowing confident and efficient checking of applications, resulting in businesses receiving payments in a timely manner. The technical team are always on hand to assist with the setup of new schemes or making amendments to existing ones, providing a step by step walk throughs to ensure comprehensive understanding of the product and its capabilities”
“Ascendant Solutions have created a real-time bespoke solution through significant advances in data sourcing and analytics to understand customers in much greater depth than ever before. With this insight, you can ensure customers are being treated fairly in line with what the data is saying and not the single route of old. The correct level of support can be put in place before the customer becomes financially distressed.”
“I can’t rate it highly enough, it’s now my first “go to” when I need to check if someone has occupied a property or are still resident, where they may have moved to, if we suspect a partner or lodger, etc is resident and not declared, or if we are looking at charging orders on properties and need to check if it’s for sale, where a property has been sold or let out to see who it was sold/let through so we can try and trace where former owners have moved to.”
"With the help of Ascendant, we were able to prove a customer had been creating fake tenants in an attempt to defraud the council of tax over the space of 5 years. The customer was changing their name by deed poll multiple times to create the credit a footprint of a customer that never existed. The customer has now accepted liability for £6,000 in council tax, paying a large upfront sum with an arrangement set up for the remainder. Without Ascendant’s services, we would still be investigating today."
"Following an exercise to review all 100% Small Business Rates Relief cases using Hive, it was determined that in a significant number of instances companies that had been either dissolved or liquidated continuing to be billed, in some cases as far back as four to five years. Further enquiries will now be made to establish the current occupier or the property owner will be billed for the empty property rates."
"Mark and I would like to extend our thanks for the superbly efficient service that we at NHDC, have received from you and the Team, with regard to the Ascendant product particularly in relation to Business Grants. The system does exactly what we need it too and the support that we have had from Ascendant has been exceptional. Nothing is too much trouble and you are very quick to call individual meetings to rectify any queries”