What is the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) Process?
The Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is an annual bidding round for eligible academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools to apply for capital funding. The priority for the fund is to address significant condition need, keeping education provider buildings safe and in good working order. This includes funding projects to address health and safety issues, building compliance and poor building condition.
CIF also supports a small proportion of expansion projects. These are for academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted that can demonstrate a need to expand.
Applications for 2021 to 2022 round of bidding are due for submission by mid-December 2020 and as such it is important to engage with a professional practice, such as Roger Hannah, who can ensure that a thorough bid is submitted in advance of the deadline.
This year’s criteria favours bids from applicants with strong governance and good financial management. We think there is a strong link between trusts with a good grip on finance and governance and effective, value for money capital delivery.
Who can apply for CIF?
Single academy trusts, small multi-academy trusts (MATs), sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools can apply for CIF.
MATs with 5 or more academies and more than 3,000 pupils cannot apply for CIF. These trusts will receive a School Condition Allocation (SCA) to invest across their estate.
CIF and Loans
Academies and sixth-form colleges can take out a loan, for all or part of the project costs in their application, to demonstrate their commitment to the scheme.
Loans are offered at Public Works Loan Board rates of interest, the same rate that local authorities can access to invest in their schools. You will make loan repayments through abatement of revenue funding paid to you and reinvested into future capital budgets.
Urgent Capital Support (UCS): Differences With CIF
Urgent Capital Support (UCS) is for academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools which do not have access to a SCA, and require funding assistance to address urgent building condition issues that either put the safety of pupils and staff at risk, or threaten the closure of the whole, or a significant part of, the school.
Applications can only be considered from institutions outside of the main round where there is a genuine and immediate need for urgent support that cannot wait until the next round.
Timescales for Condition Improvement Fund Processes
Time is ticking and as such we recommend acting fast to ensure Roger Hannah can review your school to assist in advising of the most urgent and potentially successful bids.