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Devon Multiply – applicant guide


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Introduction and background

Department for Education logo
Skills for life - Multiply

Multiply is a national three-year £560 million UK government programme launched last year to help adults improve their numeracy skills and confidence in everyday life, at home, and at work.

The programme is being delivered through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and is entering its second year of delivery. Devon County Council (DCC) is the managing authority for Multiply across the Devon County Council administrative area.

Under the Multiply programme, we are running the Devon Multiply revenue grant scheme which supports projects to widen maths delivery and introduce innovative opportunities for improving adults’ functional numeracy skills. The overall aim of Devon Multiply is to increase the levels of functional numeracy in the adult population across Devon, particularly within harder-to-reach audiences.

Based on the year one delivery and lessons learned, in Devon Multiply year two we are aiming to widen our delivery and intensify our focus on reaching those harder-to-reach groups that are finding maths a barrier.

We have allocated £290,000 for the new call for applications in year two. In this call, projects will be asked to show that at least 50% of their Multiply participants/learners are part of hard-to-reach groups which may include:

  • disabled individuals –including those with neurodivergent characteristics or who are experiencing mental health issues
  • people who are Deaf and use British Sign Language
  • minority ethnic groups
  • young people and those who live in relative rural isolation
  • care-experienced individuals
  • people who are long-term unemployed
  • other evidenced harder-to-reach groups

All applicants must only support adults (19+) in Devon without a Level 2 qualification or equivalent in maths. Within these criteria, these individuals can be:

  • harder-to-reach individuals and individuals in isolated areas across Devon
  • individuals who find maths skills a barrier to employment
  • adults (19+) without a GCSE grade 4 or C or equivalent in maths
  • adults (19+) employed or unemployed seeking to increase their confidence and skills in maths
  • employers who want to increase the maths skills of their employees

We will fund successful projects for an initial period of eight months (until 31 March 2024) – this is phase one. Based on performance achieved in phase one and confirmation of 2024/25 funding, successful projects will be able to submit a further proposal for scaling up the project – this is phase two.

The grant scheme aims to develop a greater understanding of the specific needs and barriers across hard-to-reach target groups. This would allow approaches for addressing these needs and barriers to be co-designed with target group individuals and representatives. Phase 1 will inform potential follow up activity in year three, where the programme can be ramped up to further support effective activity.

Devon Multiply is subject to Ofsted in year two. Learn Devon, Devon County Council’s adult education provider follows the standards as given in the Education Inspection Framework and will provide guidance to all projects.

Programme interventions

Devon Multiply aims to help people in Devon improve their ability to understand and use maths in daily life, at home, and at work.

Whether that be improving household finances, helping children with homework, making more sense of the facts in the media, or improving numeracy skills specific to a line of work.

Eligible organisations are invited to submit innovative project proposals that support at least one of the interventions:

  • Courses designed to increase confidence with numbers for those needing the first steps towards formal numeracy qualifications.
  • Courses designed to help people use numeracy to manage their money.
  • Innovative numeracy programmes delivered together with employers – including courses designed to cover specific numeracy skills required in the workplace.
  • Courses aimed at people who can’t apply for certain jobs because of lack of numeracy skills and/or to encourage people to upskill in numeracy order to access a certain job or career.
  • Courses for parents wanting to increase their numeracy skills to help their children and help with their own progression.
  • Numeracy courses aimed at those 19 or over that are leaving, or have just left, the care system.
  • Numeracy activities, courses or provision developed in partnership with community organisations and other partners aimed at engaging the hardest-to-reach learners – for example, those not in the labour market or other groups identified locally as in need.

Interventions or activities should not displace, replace, or duplicate any existing adult numeracy provision, such as activity funded through the existing Adult Education Budget (AEB) statutory entitlement for maths qualifications.

Projects activity can include two types of learning provisions:

Substantive learning provision is a formal or informal learning opportunity through which learners will measurably improve their functional numeracy. Substantive learning provision will typically be at a minimum of two hours long. You must provide completed enrolment forms for the learners who participate in substantive learning provision. We will then record their learning in the individualised learner record (ILR).

Non-substantive learning or outreach-focused provision is targeted at those in the local area who would benefit from Multiply funded learning. This is likely to be more informal and innovative activity and not typically classroom based. Examples are:

  • using ‘touchpoints’ to reach out (for example, money advice, community, or housing services)
  • running a taster session or event

Who can apply?

Organisations that are eligible to apply for a grant include:

  • charities
  • limited companies
  • community interest groups
  • partnerships
  • private limited companies
  • local authorities

This list is not exhaustive and other organisation types may also be considered.

The adults who are being supported by Devon Multiply must live in the Devon County Council Administrative area: Exeter, Teignbridge, Torridge, North Devon, Mid Devon, South Hams, East Devon, and West Devon.

Devon Multiply projects may be delivered by a consortium of eligible project deliverers. If there is more than one organisation applying to deliver a project, a lead organisation must be selected to become the lead applicant with the remaining organisation(s) acting as delivery partner(s).

In this situation, the applicant would be responsible and liable for the delivery partner(s) and for ensuring the project is operating as planned.

How much can be applied for?

As explained in the first part of this guide, the project offers revenue grants.

You can apply for a minimum grant of £15,000 and a maximum grant of £50,000. Devon Multiply will fund 100% of the eligible costs of the awarded projects up to a maximum of £50,000.

Eligible revenue costs include:

  • staff costs – salaries, National Insurance, and superannuation (pension) contributions
  • Training costs including:
    • trainer salary
    • training materials
    • training systems and licences where necessary and well justified
  • costs of business travel, subsistence, and accommodation
  • contractors and consultants procured to:
    • deliver project activity
    • undertake evaluation work
    • undertake audit work if requested by the Secretary of State
    • undertake feasibility studies and/or market research to inform potential future projects
  • marketing and publicity costs
  • training participant costs, for example, allowances and travel expenses
  • dependant care costs of training participants
  • small items of equipment (below £2000) – clear evidence of need will be required with approval from the DfE
  • overheads – ongoing costs to support project delivery and can include utilities, stationary, office equipment, and supplies – is calculated at maximum of 15% of the direct salary costs for the project

If you are unsure if a cost is eligible, please contact the programme team who will be happy to help. Email

Costs that are not eligible for funding

Costs that are not eligible for Devon Multiply purposes will include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • any costs incurred before the project start date proposed.
  • capital expenditures and spending on the purchase of assets, for example, buildings, furniture, and fittings – this includes the purchase of information technology that is treated as capital expenditure for accounting purposes
  • any items which you have already had EU or other public funding for (or intend to get EU or other public funding for)
  • recoverable VAT
  • proposals that are carried out only to meet a domestic legal requirement
  • statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties
  • bad debts
  • staff bonuses or rewards for good performance
  • gifts
  • entertaining (which for this purpose means anything that would be a taxable benefit to the person being entertained, according to current UK tax regulations)
  • contingency costs
  • costs associated with the provision of housing
  • insurance policy costs
  • contributions in kind
  • depreciation, amortisation or impairment of fixed assets owned by the applicant or project
  • interest payments or service charge payments for finance leases

Subsidy control

All applications must also consider how they will deliver in line with subsidy control (or State Aid for aid in scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol) as per UK government guidance – as well as all other relevant legal obligations such as procurement. This will be tested as part of the appraisal process and monitored thereafter.

Paying for the project

Grants will be paid in arrears and normally in stages depending on your timescales and outputs or milestones. We expect you to make a maximum of four claims over the course of the project.

You must show that you have sufficient funds to pay for the project costs until you receive the grant payments.

In some circumstances you may need to apply for a percentage of the costs upfront, this is an exception rather than the rule.


All Devon Multiply year two projects must complete project activity by 29 February 2024. Projects must also complete project financial activity, show defrayal, and claim all project costs by 31 March 2024.

Defrayal means that any agreed eligible costs must be paid in full. Items can only be declared as fully defrayed if evidence is provided that the payment for the item has left the purchaser’s account.

Preparing an application

The Devon Multiply team will assess your application. We are looking for evidence of a sound business case and for projects that deliver value for money and meet our priorities for funding.

You won’t automatically get a grant

When you apply for a grant, you are competing with other applicants in the eligible area. We are looking for projects that best meet the priorities for funding, and that are good value for taxpayers’ money. If you can show this clearly in your application, you are more likely to receive a grant.

Devon Multiply funding is limited and will be prioritised to applications that best contribute to the programme’s aim and themes, as set out above.

The application process is competitive

This means that even those who submit a quality application may not be funded, as this scheme aims to support a range of projects, to cover a variety of needs, geographies and demographics.

We aim to support projects within those wards and places within the county whose residents have traditionally had the lowest skills achievement.

Devon County Council reserves the right not to make any awards if it is considered that the proposals are not sufficiently innovative, are not scalable, or practical.

All applications are assessed and put forward to an independent decision-making board which has the final decision on whether a project is approved or declined for funding.

Do not start work, incur costs, or place any orders before your grant agreement has been signed. This will potentially make your whole project ineligible.

The application process

We are using an application form designed for grants between £15,000 and £50,000. We understand that the application process may appear to be lengthy for those only seeking a small amount of funding, however, the application detail should be proportionate to the size of the grant you are applying for.

The most important consideration, and what your application will be assessed on, is the quality of the information, not quantity. Therefore, we expect the level of detail will be greater for larger project funding applications than smaller projects.

The Devon Multiply grant scheme has a two-stage application process:

Stage 1 – expression of interest (EOI)

The EOI stage is the first step in your application process. This is your opportunity to tell us about your project and explain the benefits and what you are aiming to achieve.

We realise that your project is organic and will develop as you progress through the application. At this stage we need the higher level (or summary) information; we will ask you for more details at the full application stage (if your expression of interest is successful).

Tip: Make sure your answers to the questions are clear and concise. The person reading your application may not know your sector in detail, therefore avoid using acronyms or jargon. Don’t assume we will know of your organisation or what it does.

Ensure you clearly outline your purpose and who your work is directed toward, for example, working specifically with isolated older people or younger adults with mental health issues.

Your EOI must be submitted electronically using our online form or sent to where a hard copy of the EOI form has been requested.

The programme team will review your application and a decision will be made on whether to invite you to submit a full application.

There are three possible outcomes in the EOI stage:

Approved and invited to submit a full application. You will be sent an email inviting you to submit a full application. If we feel there are areas that you could improve on we will provide feedback.

You may also be given conditions that you must meet at the submission of your full application. The email will have a deadline date for submission of your application.

Deferred – if your project is deferred this is because the assessor needs some further information to enable them to make a decision.

We will tell you what we require, and you will have 10 working days to submit the information. Your application will be assessed again and a decision made.

Rejected – you will be sent an email with detailed information on how this decision was made, and areas that could be improved should you wish to reapply.

If you are unable to meet your submission date please get in touch as failure to meet your submission date may result in your invitation to submit a full application being withdrawn.

Stage 2 – full application

The full application is a more comprehensive application. This is your opportunity to tell us in detail about your project.

If you have been invited to this stage we believe your project is eligible based on the information provided at the EOI stage and we are interested to find out more.

This is a competitive process and having an invitation to submit a full application does not mean you will be awarded funding. You are part of a group of projects that will be presented to the decision-making board.

Tip: Ensure you make the distinction between what your organisation delivers as a whole and what the discreet project is that you are requesting funding for – even when requesting support for ‘core costs’ you must clearly define what the funding is going towards and what directly it will achieve.

Supporting documents

In the full application stage we will require your supporting documents that can include, for example, policies, business accounts and supporting letters.

As well as supporting documentation that demonstrates the need and demand, impact, value for money and deliverability of your project and how it will make a game-changing difference to the local economy or community.

You will need to demonstrate how you have met any conditions stated in your invitation to full application, together with proof of all relevant policies required for your project to proceed.

You might also need to provide quotations or tenders for the project costs.

Outputs and milestones

Outputs are the measurable results that you will achieve as part of the project. Outputs are integral in the decision-making process as they help the appraiser determine the value for money that the project will achieve.

If your application is successful they will form part of the grant funding agreement which you will be required to enter into with Devon County Council. Therefore, it is advisable to be realistic about the outputs your project will achieve.

The two outputs below are mandatory. For both outputs, please estimate the number of:

  • adult numeracy courses run in a local area through Multiply that your project might achieve
  • people participating in Multiply funded courses, broken down by ethnicity, sex or gender, age and disability to enable Public Sector Equality Duty monitoring that your project might achieve

If applicable, please estimate the number of optional outputs your project might achieve. For example, of:

  • courses developed in collaboration with employers
  • people referred from partners onto upskill courses
  • different cohorts participating in numeracy courses, for example, learners in prison or parents
  • other outputs you have identified

Within your learner outputs, you must identify the number of substantive and non-substantive learners.

Milestones are the key steps in your project – these are normally the timescales in which you hope to achieve progress.

Before you submit your full application

Please check you have included:

  • an application form including fully completed costs, outputs and milestones
  • letters of support or expressions of interest from stakeholders (optional)
  • all the relevant policies, including:
    • health and safety
    • safeguarding adults
    • Prevent (anti-radicalisation)
    • modern slavery
    • equality and diversity

If you do not have one or more of these policies please explain which policies you do not have in place and explain why.

The application form must be signed electronically and sent as a PDF or Word document. Preferably a PDF document.

Please send your application from and the supporting documents from the email address you give us in section 1 of the application form.

What happens after the submission of a full application?

The programme team will check your application for completeness; if there are any documents missing or we require further information the team will request this from you and give you five working days to submit it.

There are short timescales between submission and the decision-making panel meeting date, therefore we would advise you to submit this information as soon as possible.

All applications will be independently appraised. The appraiser may ask you clarifying questions, therefore, try and ensure you are available between the period of processing and decision-making in case the funder has any queries – or provide an alternative contact where you can’t avoid being unavailable.


The decision on whether to award funding will be made by the decision-making board which is comprised of Devon County Council and sector representatives.

There are four possible outcomes from a decision-making board meeting:

  • Approved – the project is awarded the funding without any additional conditions.
  • Approved with conditions – the project is awarded the funding subject to meeting additional conditions.
  • Deferred – the project decision is deferred; you will be provided with details of the reasons and what you must provide to enable the board to make a decision.
  • Rejected – the application is rejected, and you are provided detailed reasons for the decision – you will also be informed if you can reapply.

The successful applicants (approved projects) will be required to enter into a grant agreement with DCC.

Appeals process

Whilst we appreciate a rejection will be disappointing, this decision will not have been taken lightly, therefore appeals are only accepted if you believe we have:

  • made a mistake
  • made a processing error
  • made an error in law

Appeals cannot be made because you are unhappy with the outcome.

All appeals should be submitted in writing to within 30 working days and they will be independently reviewed.

The outcome will be sent to you within 30 working days of receipt of your appeal and this decision will be final.

How to submit your expression of interest

Please submit your expression of interest using our online form. If you’d prefer to use an offline document, please email for a copy.

The outcome of your expression of interest will be sent within 10 working days of receipt.