How to write successful CIF Bids

Condition Improvement Fund bids

We have been writing successful funding bids in various forms for nearly 20 years. In our experience securing CIF bids comes down to following the famous five P’s. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance and avoiding the sixth P of Procrastination!

The deadline for each academic year tends to follow a similar pattern. Final bids are required on the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) portal in December. This gives eligible schools and colleges with academy status and sixth-form colleges a clear timeline to get prepared.

We recommend starting at around the same time as the Government announces the current year’s outcomes i.e. in the Spring or early Summer.

“A top tip is if you are unsuccessful then ask for feedback & apply this learning to next year.

James Matthewson, Director, Chawton Hill

Why start CIF Bids in the Spring/early Summer?

Starting in the Spring to early Summer allows for a timely review of the Department for Schools and Education guidance document. This allows your bid to be aligned with the latest policy criteria and priorities. For example, ESFA has specified the available points for different percentages of school contribution according to the project cost. Often, higher school contributions lead to extra marks that can push your bid over the qualifying threshold.

Importantly allowing enough time also enables condition surveys and contractor visits to take place over the holiday period. Doing so minimises disruption to the day-to-day running of the school and allows unrestricted access to investigate the prioritised issues. Previous ESFA bid guidance documents stress the importance of referring to an up-to-date, independent condition survey when identifying failing components.

The first step towards a successful CIF Bid

We cannot stress enough the importance of having compelling and independent evidence. This should be supported with pictures to help illustrate the identified issues and the current impact on the school. Evidence such as; condition surveys, asbestos reports, cost breakdown records, energy bills, user statements, records of interruptions to teaching etc. Equally important is having accurate contractor’s pricing and delivery programmes which support your bid. All these take a surprising amount of time to collect.

Chawton Hill have helped numerous schools and colleges not only secure CIF funding but also re-write and submit unsuccessful bids. We also have extensive experience in the Construction Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Our advice has helped schools secure the reinstatement of charges taken through the planning process via the Local Planning Authority.

 Excellent survey that’s been central to our future maintenance & development plans

Lou Raggett, Head of Trust Facilities, Shrewsbury House School

Don’t Procrastinate, speak to us today so we can help you Prepare a successful CIF bid and importantly book your vital condition survey whilst there is improved and safe access to your facilities.


Previous Chawton Hill CIF bid posts you may like;

One Comment on “How to write successful CIF Bids”

  1. Pingback: CIF Funding – three tips for success | Chawton Hill Chartered Surveyors

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