Customer story

Digital grants processing

Streamlining community grants processes with low-code.

Hours saved
Licence fees saved over 5 years
Customer experience

The challenges

Newcastle City Council is the local government authority for the city and metropolitan borough of Newcastle upon Tyne. In a bid to make community grants more accessible to its citizens, NCC needed a digital-first case management solution that could bridge multiple technologies, automate processes and deliver accurate reporting for compliance. The ultimate goal: to deliver a streamlined and transparent end-to-end application process for a range of grants including, more recently, its Clear Air Zone (CAZ) grant.

Liberty Create has given us the ability to build new solutions at pace. I’ve never felt so excited and empowered about saying to customers within the local authority that yes, we can do this now!

Paul Doney, Newcastle City Council

Disparate applications processes

With no clear visibility of all NCC grants, the team needed a single view to manage different application methods and processes, providing applicants with progress updates. While different technologies were already in use, these legacy-based software solutions required agents to use technical, and often manual, workarounds to manage workflows.

Reducing manual errors and fraud

Along with handling telephone calls, the council team had to field numerous unstructured emails. This created more manual work for staff who had to re-key customer data e.g. bank account details, and rely on manual spreadsheets to process payments. With limited validation capability, the risk of claim fraud, error and audit failure were high.

Supporting clean air zone compliance

In response to a legal directive, NCC needed to reduce legal levels of traffic-related pollution. Owners of specific vehicles, which didn’t meet national CAZ emissions requirements, needed a simple way to check eligibility and apply for grants. This would include complex applications involving a number of vehicles in a fleet.

Smooth Clean Air Zone (CAZ) Grants

Through the same single grant application process, with its own custom-branded interface hosted on the Breathe website, users can click apply and check for car zones, eligibility, local exemptions and how to pay.

Data protection compliance is assured and complex multi-vehicle grant applications are handled with ease. Once agents have verified eligibility, they send out documentation and signpost applicants to financial providers. With in-built rules for exemption dates, this data is easily exported into downloadable CSVs which can be integrated with enforcement camera whitelists.
In the future, NCC hopes to join this up with an API to integrate data directly from Liberty Create with enforcement cameras.

The solution

Low-code platform

Managing multiple application types and processes, Liberty Create offers a single view solution to automating workflows and handling communication and compliance with ease. The team can make easy updates to meet changing grant application needs, handling complex applications e.g. multiple vehicle grants
for a fleet.

End-to-end case management

Using a single form, applicants can access the information they need and apply easily, with in-built form validation checks to support back-office processing. Officers can easily liaise with applicants and trigger bulk emails when needed. Testing with applicants and officers revealed they were pleased with the easy-to-use forms and improvements to processes.

Resource efficiency

Increased automation has improved the customer experience and enhanced accuracy. Staff no longer have to resort to manual workarounds and can rapidly respond to new grants requirements themselves. With less need to manage security and fraud across multiple applications, NCC staff also spend less on software, gaining cost savings by moving away from paper-based applications.

What’s next

NCC has a timetable of planned replacements as it continues on its journey with Liberty Create.

Read more

Some upcoming projects include ICT, fraud and audit case management, an employee portal, replacing online forms and other replacements of third-party products which will deliver real cashable savings — whilst providing an ability to build products at pace and consolidate applications.

With Liberty Create, we’ve been able to reduce manual processes related to bank payments and reduce the number of staff dealing with telephone calls. Fraud and audit teams absolutely love this product as everything is dealt with in one application and they can easily use data to detect fraud or any errors.


  • 6,500 less applications via telephone
  • Over 2,100 hours saved
  • £800,000 savings in licence fees over 5 years
  • Savings on postage
  • Reduced traffic pollution levels
  • Improved customer experience
Newcastle City Council
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