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Receipt and processing of applications within the Green Savings Programme, State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic

A tool developed by KOMIX helps to manage and administrate the successful Green Savings grant programme, which was launched in 2009, receiving a great deal of attention from the public as it is an  expression of the Czech Republic’s contribution to the global effort to improve the state of the environment.

Client:

Státní fond životního prostředí

Characteristics of the customer

The mission of the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic (hereinafter referred to as the “SEF”), an organisation established by the Ministry of the Environment in 1992, is to contribute to investment in environmental protection. It thus serves to allocate targeted grants from several programmes.

One of the most important of these programmes is Green Savings, which was initiated by the Ministry of the Environment in 2009. The programme derives from the Kyoto Protocol, the first international accord on reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions. The objective of the programme is to distribute approximately CZK 21 billion obtained through the sale of emissions units to other states and grants for investments in buildings aimed at lowering their energy intensity while eliminating harmful impacts on the environment caused by their heating.

The customer’s initial situation

The main challenge was to allocate such an enormous amount of money (equal to, for example, the annual budget of the Ministry of Justice) in relatively small amounts to a large number of entities – owners of family houses and apartment building, but not to large enterprises. This was to be done under the extraordinary and critical gaze of the media and the public, which would not forgive any problems in the management of this programme.

The receipt and administration of applications under these conditions exceeded the capacities of the SEF, which has only 14 regional branches. Therefore, in order to accelerate the receipt and administration of applications, cooperation was established with five banking entities with a dense network of branches.

It was also necessary to quickly and properly issue decisions on submitted applications, whereas the approval process is conducted in three stages – applications that the SEF recommends for approval are discussed by the SEF Council, which recommends applications for approval to the Ministry of the Environment. Besides these two instances, buyers of emissions units also approve applications for aid from the programme.

Therefore, it was necessary to ensure the provision of software that would enable uniform registration of applications submitted to various institutions (see above) anywhere in the Czech Republic. The system also had to support the entire lifecycle of applications and enable inspection of their implementation.

Another necessity was to manage the entire process so that it would be documented according to transparency requirements pursuant to Czech and international standards. The requirement for flexible monitoring was also connected with the fact that the SEF may not at any time disburse grants totalling more than the amount obtained through the gradual sale of emissions permits.

Our solution

Upon winning the tender, in spring 2009 KOMIX developed the GIS (Green Investment Scheme) information system for registering applications for aid from the Green Savings programme. This involved a software application which enables officials to monitor the entire lifecycle of grant applications – from receipt, through approval and project implementation, to disbursement of grants.

Grant applications contain dozens of technical parameters, which are the subject of extensive inspections and validations performed in the software application throughout the given project’s period of duration. The GIS application makes it possible to register and inspect these parameters. In addition, the reporting superstructure can provide a complete overview of the administration process for the needs of management.

Despite the critically short project period, KOMIX’s team approached the matter systematically. Development of the application began in January, whereas it had to be put into operation as soon as possible after the official launch of the programme on Earth Day (22 April 2009). This meant that particularly the final phase of development as well as the first weeks after start of live operation were rather demanding – KOMIX’s development team and the SEF’s project team worked even on weekends, whereas on normal business days requirements were formulated and handed over for modification and then programmed and tested on weekends so that the modifications were launched in routine operation at the beginning of the following week.

Evaluation – benefit for the client

The GIS application for receipt and registration of aid applications was introduced into operation on 11 May 2009, i.e. only two weeks after the official launch of the programme. As expected, the media dedicated extensive coverage to the Green Savings programme, yet not a single reproach regarding software support was ever mentioned. The first grant application was received and registered in the GIS application in June; by the end of 2009 a total of 3,118 grant applications (97% of which were from owners of family houses) had been registered in the GIS information system.

In the next phase, KOMIX delivered a solution expanded with a management superstructure – a group of reports providing an overall summary of the programme’s course according to several standpoints. This was welcomed by both SEF employees and representatives of the Ministry of the Environment.

Approximately 300 users in more than ten roles work with the GIS application. The complexity of processing grant applications and the breadth of its coverage with functionalities of the software application are illustrated by the fact that only a small segment of GIS users, specifically 110 of them, work in the “receipt of applications” role.