Why are we doing this?
Innovate to Save is an ambitious programme seeking to tackle some of the most complex issues currently facing our public services - while generating cashable savings. The programme seeks to understand how innovation can be best supported to achieve these outcomes and explores the drivers of (and barriers to) innovation when thinking about how we deliver better services for less.
What are we doing?
The £5 million Innovate to Save programme will, through grant funding, non-financial support and repayable loans, support public and third sector organisations to prototype, trial, scale and evaluate innovative projects. In 2017, it opened for the first time to all Welsh public and third sector organisations, including local authorities, health boards, charities and social enterprises. During Version 1, we supported eight projects in their R&D.
Read about our first cohort of projects
There are three phases to the Innovate to Save programme: pre-application support, where we can support the development of new ideas into robust research and development (R&D) projects; research and development, where new ideas can be prototyped and tested; and implementation, where ideas that show the capacity to improve services and generate savings can be rolled out.
Packages of support are offered to successful applicants to take part in the R&D phase - grants of between £10,000 and £30,000 were made alongside a tailored programme of non-financial support to ensure project teams have the skills, knowledge and capacity required to effectively explore their idea.
After supporting projects through Version 1, we are now embarking on Version 2 alongside a cohort of seven projects seeking to improve their services.
Read about the second cohort of projects
After their R&D phase is finished, projects that have evidence to support the scaling of their work have the opportunity to develop a business case that is used to apply for a loan. In this third stage, Implementation, projects are supported with interest free, unsecured loans and a further package of non-financial support. At this moment there is no upper limit to the value of loans that can be applied for.
Read about the first Innovate to Save loans
Since 2009, the Welsh Government’s Invest to Save Fund has financed over £174 million towards projects, many of which have been able to generate cashable savings. The fund runs as a loan scheme, offering unsecured, interest free finance to public sector projects that require up front investment to implement. Challenges include effective evaluation, little incentive for partnership projects and a lack of non-financial support. After a review of Invest to Save, a more complex pilot programme was designed and became Innovate to Save.