You may be wondering where to begin submitting a bid to the next round of Condition Improvement Fund (CIF). CIF bid writing can be extremely challenging due to increasing competition and rising thresholds. Here is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions.
1. The Condition Improvement Fund is referred to as CIF.
2. Is there a deadline for applications?
3. We need to read what information?
4. Is there anything we can do to strengthen our bid?
5. Are we supposed to contribute to CIF-funded projects?
6. What is the recommended amount of time?
7. Should we give up if we don’t succeed?
8. If I need to contact the Synergy Team, how do I do that?
CIF stands for Condition Improvement Fund.
For eligible academies and sixth-form colleges, the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) hosts an annual bidding round.
In order to maintain the safety and functionality of school buildings, funding is available. Among these are projects to address health and safety issues, building compliance issues, and deteriorating buildings.
Expansion projects are also supported by
CIF. Ofsted-rated good or outstanding academies and sixth-form colleges that demonstrate a need to expand qualify for this grant.
How soon must applications be submitted?
There is likely to be a funding round for the academic year 2021-2022 in the autumn. In previous years, registration deadlines have been in November, and bids are submitted on the ESFA CIF bid portal in December.
We should read what information?
In order for your bid selection and preparation to be successful, the Department for Schools and Education updates its guidance document every year. CIF bids are assessed based on the criteria in this document. Bids that do not closely align with CIF policy criteria/priorities will likely be unsuccessful.
Is there anything we can do to strengthen our bid?
In order to successfully submit a CIF bid, it is crucial to provide compelling evidence.
Images can clearly illustrate an issue and its impact and are worth a thousand words as they say.
There are a variety of independent evidence types to support your school’s position until funding can be obtained, including condition surveys, asbestos reports, cost breakdown records, energy bills, user statements, interruption records, and interruption logs.
Don’t forget to consider your options appraisal, contractor’s prices, and delivery programs that support the solution you prefer.
Is it appropriate for our school to contribute to a CIF-funded project?
If your school contributes, takes out a loan, or includes a Salix loan-funded element in its CIF bid, it will score higher and have better chances of success. In last year’s guidance notes, the ESFA detailed the points available based on school contribution percentages. School contributions can be crucial to pushing your bid over the qualifying threshold if they demonstrate a school’s commitment to the project.
Should we allow a certain amount of time?
There is no room for complacency when it comes to this task. It is not uncommon for schools to contact us at the last minute with their bids. The key to a successful bid preparation is time. It is impossible to underestimate the amount of work involved in preparing the bid and supporting documents. If your bid(s) need to be put together, consider hiring an expert CIF bid consultant.
When a consultant like Synergy is involved early in the bid process, key evidence can be collected and used to support the bid. Having a CIF bid consultant engaged early has other advantages; surveys and contractor visits can take place over the holiday period, minimizing disruption to day-to-day operations and allowing unrestricted access to investigate issues.
Is there anything we can do if we are unsuccessful?
Get advice instead of giving up. Nationally, only one out of three bids in the last CIF round were successful. Request feedback if you were unsuccessful in your bid.
Our success rate for the 2020-21 round was 7% of all successful appeals nationwide. Synergy has helped many schools appeal outcomes successfully. In addition, we help schools resubmit bids that were successful in a subsequent round of bidding.
What is the best way to contact the Synergy Team?
Please use our contact form below if you would like more information about how Synergy can help your school with its CIF bid.