Sport Wales grants: improve access and impact

What was the goal of the project?

Increase the reach and impact of Sport Wales community investment grants.

What problems could the project solve for people?

The existing grant application process threw up significant barriers to people who wanted to apply for a Sport Wales grant.

Through interviews in discovery (the first, research phase of Agile service design), the project team found that users lacked the information they need, especially about eligibility for grants. Users were also put off by complicated language in the application process. At all stages of an application, users found getting help with their applications difficult.

An inflexible process and lack of clarity about eligibility were stopping people from applying for grants who should be able to.

Our work showed that there was ample room to improve the current grant application process through user-centred service design. A more inclusive service would reduce the burden on users, while meeting the organisational needs of Sport Wales.

A user-centred service promised to make grants accessible to everyone who was eligible – so sport funding could make the real difference that it should.

Who was involved?

CDPS’s main partner in this project was Sport Wales.

Our combined team also depended heavily on the participation of the people whose needs it was intended to meet: grass-roots sport clubs, associations and communities across Wales, with a special focus on hard-to-reach groups.

We used user-centred principles to design the grant application process with both users and Sport Wales in mind.

What did CDPS do?

In discovery, we gained a clearer view of the needs of grant applicants and the barriers they faced. We also explored the technical, operational and design challenges of a grant application service. However, the research was broader than just looking at the grants system. The aim was to understand how Sport Wales community grants could increase their reach and impact.

We then moved into the next, experimental stage of Agile service design – alpha. In this stage, we designed and tested parts of the application process to meet the needs of current and potential users, as well as those of Sport Wales.

We extended the alpha phase to design and test an end-to-end user journey, including how it affected back-office processes and system requirements. This also helped to shape the specification for Sport Wales’s procurement of a new system to manage the process.

When CDPS’s involvement in the work ended, Sport Wales took up implementation of the new system designed around user needs. However, we have an ongoing relationship with Sport Wales as they identify new digital projects – we’ll support them in building their own delivery teams and prioritising this work.

How did this project help to deliver the digital strategy for Wales?

A user-centred grant application process helped to deliver upon the following strategy missions:

Mission 1: digital services

Deliver and modernise services so that they’re designed around user needs and are simple, secure and convenient.

Blog posts

Goal! Making Sport Wales grants reach further – published 1 August 2022

User research – or building services that help people – published 25 July 2022

Putting a design team together – published 5 July 2022

‘It’s a right pain to take a screenshot’ – published 27 May 2022

Once upon a time … on an Agile service team – published 13 April 2022

Audio applications? Helping to throw the grants net wider – published 10 March 2022

Prototype as a conversation starter – published 5 January 2022

Sport Wales discovery – team learning – published 29 October 2021

Sport Wales – end of discovery findings – published 18 October 2021

Sport Wales discovery: what is it? – published 30 July 2021