What is Condition Improvement Funding?

Scott Walters
A look in to what Condition Improvement Funding is and how schools can maximise their chance of securing it.

What is Condition Improvement Funding?

Condition Improvement Funding (CIF) is a scheme operated by the government for Academies and sixth-form colleges which allows them to apply annually for funding to help keep in their buildings in good working order to provide students and teachers with the best possible working environment.

The core priority is to address significant condition need, keeping buildings safe and in good working order. This includes: improving poor building condition, Building compliance, Energy efficiency and Health & safety. CIF also supports a small amount of expansion projects for those rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted. This includes expanding their existing facilities or floor space. This is to increase the number of admissions in the main year of entry or address overcrowding.

Academies and sixth-form colleges can apply to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for capital funding from the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), but they cannot be larger than a 5 member Multi Academy Trust or 3000 pupils.

Bids are assessed based on the following criteria and weighting; Project need 70%, Project planning 15%, Value for money 15%. The threshold for passing is minimum 77%.

What Can We Do?

We can undertake surveys, write bids, procure expert advice, go out to the market for quotations and manage the project on site if the bid is successful.

We have an outstanding funding success rate built upon our knowledge and understanding of the latest developments in the education sector.

The chart below captures how the process works and key dates from the previous submission round. This years dates are set to be published by the EFA this Autumn, but they are likely to be similar to those shown below.

 

What Are Our Challenges?

  • Calculating the fee - Our Fees will be calculated on a case by case basis depending on the nature of the works and the likelihood of success, speak to your local F+G office to make enquiries.

  • The competition for funding is strong - applications are often oversubscribed, therefore even the most comprehensive and carefully constructed submissions can be turned down.
  • Having a good consultant supply chain – Faithful+Gould pride themselves in have a strong local  sub-consultant supply chain to call upon when writing complex or specialist bids. If you are interested in working with us please contact your local Faithful+Gould office to speak to us about CIF. 
  • The clock is ticking – Keep on top of your delivery programme and be ready to go into the pre-construction procurement phase as soon as the funding is confirmed especially if your client wants works to start in the summer holidays (which they will).
  • Market Testing – The EFA will want evidence that the project has been market tested so make sure you get comprehensive quotations from reliable and financially stable contractors.
  • Build a relationship with your client – The majority of clients we have assisted in securing Condition Improvement Funding have been through repeat business. Our key philosophy is to work in partnership with our clients to gain a detailed understanding of an individual School/Academy of Multi Academy Trust then advise on potential future bids based on the key assessment criteria set out by the EFA.
  • Collaborative working –  Faithful+Gould is committed to ensuring that the knowledge gained from writing bids on behalf of Schools and Academies never goes to waist. Whether successful or unsuccessful, experience is shared throughout our UK offices to help our surveyors  develop the strongest possible case to obtain future funding.

  • Faithful+Gould also supports schools and academies rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding seeking funding to enable expansion of their existing facilities. This includes increasing floor space to cater for number of admissions in the main year of entry or address overcrowding.

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