What do you mean by 'innovation', 'cashable savings' and 'non-cashable savings'?

For the purposes of Innovate to Save, we’re using the following definition of the term innovation:

"Put simply, public sector innovation involves creating, developing and implementing practical ideas that achieve a public benefit. These ideas have to be at least in part new (rather than improvements); they have to be taken up and used (rather than simply remaining ideas); and they have to be useful. By this definition innovation overlaps with, but is different from, creativity and entrepreneurship.”

For the purposes of Innovate to Save, we’re using the following definition of the term cashable savings:

"Cashable savings are those savings that are reflected on a budget line."

For the purposes of Innovate to Save, non-cashable savings can be defined as any activity that increases value or reduces the amount of resources required to deliver a service which cannot be reflected on a budget line. This may include delivering more (quantity or value) for service users.

Can I apply if I’m a private sector company?

No, applications can only be submitted by public and third sector organisations based in Wales. However, private sector organisations can partner with one of these organisations.

How do you define "third sector"?

For the purposes of Innovate to Save, third sector organisations are:

  • independent, non-governmental bodies;
  • established voluntarily by people who choose to organise themselves;
  • ‘value-driven’ and motivated by social, cultural or environmental objectives, rather than simply to make a profit;
  • committed to reinvesting their surpluses to further their social aims and for the benefit of people and communities in Wales

This definition is inline with the definition used by Welsh Government to administer applications to the Invest to Save fund.

Can the budget be used to cover staff costs?

Yes, however, you should also ensure that you have enough budget to cover the costs associated with your R&D project. Think about how you’re going to prototype, test and evaluate your idea - do you need to build something new or work with an external partner?

Can the budget be used to cover overheads?

No, we can’t cover overheads during the R&D phase.

I’ve already tested my idea, can I skip the R&D phase?

Innovate to Save is a programme so we can’t, at this stage, accept applications for loan finance from people who haven’t taken part in the R&D phase. If you believe that your idea is ready to be implemented, please get in touch with the Invest to Save team to see how they can help.

Does my idea have to be digital?

No, not at all. In fact, we expect a significant number of applications not to involve the use of digital technology.

Does my project need to be related to one of the four thematic areas?

No. We are interested in supporting ideas that generate cashable savings in the public sector, wherever they operate. There is no expectation that projects bend towards any of the themes that are of interest to Innovate to Save, and there is no weighting in favour of projects concerned with the themes in our scoring criteria. Of the approx 20 projects that are expected to progress to the R&D phase of the programme, we anticipate that approximately 10 of these will be related to the themes and 10 will not be related to the themes.

Do I have to secure match funding?

No, match funding isn’t necessary. You are welcome to bring match funding into the project, however, this must be secured before you submit your application to Innovate to Save.

We don’t have any research skills in our organisation, will this be a problem?

No, not at all. The team from Y Lab will support you to deliver the research element of your R&D project where appropriate.

Is there a limit on the loan that can be taken out?

There is currently no limit on the value of the loan that may be requested by a project once it’s completed the R&D phase. We expect a range of loans to be requested, depending on the size and complexity of a project. We’re also able to be somewhat flexible with repayment periods, setting an appropriate repayment period in consultation with the project, based on the amount of time it’s likely to take for savings to be realised.

How can I address concerns my organisation has around taking on a loan?

Risk is an issue that we have been asked about throughout the briefing process, however, we are confident that the staged process will help organisations to understand the uncertainty involved in this type of project and manage associated risks. The R&D phase is intended to help participants move from uncertainty about whether their idea works, by building up a business case that manages risk. Projects will use the outcomes from this phase to inform their decision on whether to accept the invitation to proceed to the loan.

Third sector organisations that instigate or provide intellectual leadership for a project proposal might feel they are the natural partner to lead on a bid. It might be more appropriate however to allow the organisation that would be realising the savings to lead and shoulder the risk of drawing down the loan.

What happens if we don't achieve the savings we anticipated during the implementation phase and can't use these savings to repay a loan?

The testing and support offered during the R&D phase should remove much of the uncertainty around a new project, however; we recognise that there will still be a level of risk in implementing an innovative solution and that this may result in a small number of organisations failing to generate sufficient savings to repay their loans. In these situations we'll engage in a conversation with the project to work out the most appropriate course of action on the question of recovery.

We will, of course, need to understand why the anticipated savings did not materialise, as this will be an important learning opportunity for everyone. But once we have a full understanding of the situation, we will then submit formal advice to Welsh Ministers on the options open to us.

Does my organisation need to take a partnership approach?

While partnership working is not mandatory, it is likely to be beneficial to the development of most projects. Unlike most loan and grant schemes, Innovate to Save isn’t offering financing in order to benefit individual organisations per se, but rather it exists to support new ideas that have the potential to generate cashable savings for Welsh public services and improve the quality of service delivery.

Is there a deadline?

Yes, the deadline for submission of applications is 10am on Monday 16 July 2018. We will then process, score and shortlist all the applications received before inviting a selection of applicants to take part in interviews.