2018-9 CIF is off and running

The Education and Skills Funding Agency have launched the 2018-9 CIF fund. Academies, Sixth Form Colleges and Free Schools across  have eagerly awaited the launch of this year’s round. No indication has yet been made as to the total expenditure for the fund. The Condition Improvement Fund continues to show its focus on condition-related issues, however there are some significant changes afoot.

Changes for 2018-9 CIF round

Condition Bids

The EFSA maintain that the core focus of CIF remains on keeping academies and sixth-form colleges safe and in good working order. Compliance and Health and Safety remain the highest priority works. This category encompasses emergency asbestos removal, gas and electrical safety, Legionella, fire safety, safeguarding and lift safety. Significant emphasis is also being placed again on building fabric (weather tightness) and M&E systems (heating and water). As in previous years, the priority for additional works outside of these areas will give a lower score within the bid process.

More detailed information has been provided within the information for applicants on the level and details of supporting evidence required alongside bids. Despite the EFSA’s own acknowledgement of the poor standard of information held within Property Data Surveys, they have noted that the Conditional Data Collection will unlikely be available for most schools to use in this round.

Expansion Bids

The supporting information for the 2018-9 CIF round suggests a lower success rate for expansion bids than in previous years. It is suggested that somewhere between 10-19% of expansion bids have been funded versus the 30% quoted in earlier rounds. Allied with stronger wording throughout the documents, there is a clear narrative surrounding expansion bids and their chances of success.

‘Condition with expansion’ bids remain for schemes looking to increase the GIFA by no more than 10%. More significant expansion bids are again focusing on ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools only. This year however, selective (fully or partially) will not be able to apply for funding for expansion. There is further division within expansion bids; with a distinction between ‘added places’ schemes and those addressing overcrowding.

Healthy Pupils Capital Fund

The 2018-9 CIF round sees the introduction of funding via the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HPCF). This addition to CIF is being funded via the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. It is intended to help improve the physical and mental health of children and youths. Suitable schemes are likely to include increasing/improving access to facilities for healthy eating, physical activity, mental health, wellbeing and medical conditions. No major stipulations have been set out as to differing requirements from the main CIF stream; the EFSA will decide using the current CIF scoring criteria and an indication by applicants as to whether HPCF may be relevant.

Other sources have quoted that the value of HPCF will be in the region of £100.0M within the 2018-9 CIF round.

2018-9 CIF Timeline

Whilst the portal and application process have opened, there are a number of key milestones within this year’s bidding:

Milestones Dates
CIF information for applicants published and online application form opens 19th October 2017
Portal registration deadline for new applicants 5pm 30th November 2017
Technical helpline opens for applicants who require help with CIF portal access 9am 7th December 2017
Deadline for submitting applications 12 noon 14th December 2017
Deadline for submitting siginificant change request 12 noon 14th December 2017
Notify applicants of outcomes By April 2018

Your next step…

Applications

As in previous years, the CIF process for applications centres on the use of the EFSA’s portal. The portal will process every application, using the same formulaic approach as seen before. The EFSA have stressed the importance of ensuring that applications to create an account for the portal are made before the 30th November. Further information on the 2018-9 CIF round can be found on the EFSA’s website.

The conditionimprovementfund.co.uk Register

Whilst the EFSA have endeavoured to simplify the process of CIF over the years, many academies employ the services of building professionals. Whether you’re a newly converted academy or are looking to bolster your CIF team; conditionimprovementfund.co.uk’s Register is a great place to start. Conditionimprovementfund.co.uk is the UK’s only resource for academies, sixth-form colleges and free schools to find building consultants (surveyors, architects and engineers) as well as a plethora of contractors covering every element of the construction industry.