Our Services: Specialist Consultancy

Our extensive experience and depth of knowledge enables us to offer our clients consulting advice in specialist areas. Our dedicated industry experts provide a range of services including CIF bid preparation, claims consultancy, dilapidations, dispute management, expert witness, party wall awards and fire insurance valuations. They are committed to delivering a bespoke and professional service on a diverse range of projects irrespective of complexity.

CIF Bid Service

With increasing competition and rising qualifying thresholds, obtaining the advice of a professional team with proven success is one way to make sure your application stands out and can significantly improve potential outcomes.

Our experience in preparing CIF Bids has resulted in the development of an efficient and effective template, which is tailored to individual schools. This allows you to focus on the day job whilst at the same time increasing your chances of securing funding.

We have supported our school clients with a variety of bids including:

Boiler Replacement; Safeguarding; Pipework; Electrical rewiring; Roof repairs and replacement; Asbestos Removal; Window Replacement; Expansion Projects; Fire Safety Works; Toilet Refurbishment; Cladding Replacement

So why choose Synergy?

  • Long established consultancy with proven track record
  • Experts in education
  • Over £98 million secured so far
  • Partner Led service
  • In most cases, we will prepare your CIF Bid for FREE

Contact us on enquiries@synergyllp.com to make an appointment with a member of our CIF Team.

Frequently asked questions about CIF Bid Service

  1. What is the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF)?
  2. When is the CIF bid application deadline?
  3. What is the CIF policy criteria?
  4. How can we strengthen our CIF bid?
  5. Should our school make a contribution towards a CIF funded project?
  6. How much time should we allow for our CIF bid?
  7. What should we do if we are unsuccessful in our CIF bid?

1. What is the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF)?

The Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is an annual bidding round for eligible academies and sixth-form colleges to apply for capital funding.

Funding is available to deal with school building condition items to ensure they remain safe and in good working order. This includes projects to rectify health and safety concerns, issues with building compliance and poor building condition.

CIF also supports a small proportion of expansion projects. These are for academies and sixth-form colleges rated good or outstanding by Ofsted that can demonstrate a need to expand.

2. When is the CIF bid application deadline?

The next round of funding for the 2021 – 22 academic year is likely to open in the autumn term. Whilst the deadlines have not yet been released, in previous years the deadline for registration has been November with all bids submitted on the ESFA CIF bid portal in December.

3. What is the CIF policy criteria?

Every year the Department for Schools and Education update their guidance document and this information is crucial for your bid selection and preparation. If your bid does not closely align with the CIF policy criteria/priorities then it is unlikely that it will be successful.

Last year’s guidance notes outlined that CIF applications were subject to new criteria which favoured bids from applicants with strong governance and good financial management. It is therefore essential to thoroughly review the guidance before jumping straight into bid preparation!

4. How can we strengthen our CIF bid?

The provision of compelling evidence is critical and greatly strengthens your bid. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and images can clearly illustrate the issue and impact on the school.

Independent evidence such as condition surveys, asbestos reports, cost breakdown records, energy bills, user statements, records of interruptions to teaching and learning (the list goes on), all emphasize the issues your school is dealing with until funding is secured.

Finally, don’t forget your options appraisal, contractor’s prices and delivery programmes which support your preferred solution.

5. Should our school make a contribution towards a CIF funded project?

Your CIF bid will score higher and have a much better chance of success if your school makes a contribution, takes out a loan contribution, or includes a Salix funded element. In last year’s guidance notes the ESFA provided specific information on the available marks associated with different levels of school contribution according to project cost.

To score maximum marks a larger school contribution demonstrates a school’s commitment to a project and can provide the crucial extra points to push your bid over the qualifying threshold.

6. How much time should we allow for our CIF bid?

Too often we get contacted by a school that has left their bid to the last minute. Allowing enough time is critical with bid preparation. The amount of work required to prepare the bid and the supporting information is extensive and should not be underestimated. Consider utilising the services of an expert CIF bid Consultant to put together the documents for you.

The earlier a consultant such as Synergy is involved the sooner you can collect the key evidence to support the bid(s). There are other advantages with early engagement of your CIF bid consultant; surveys and contractor visits can take place over the holiday period minimising disruption to the day-to-day running of the school and allow unrestricted access to investigate the issues.

7. What should we do if we are unsuccessful in our CIF bid?

Don’t give up – get advice. In the latest Condition Improvement Fund round many bids nationwide were unsuccessful. If your bid was unsuccessful in the last round, request feedback and speak to us.

Synergy has helped many schools successfully appeal outcomes, and has assisted schools with resubmitting bids which have been successful in a subsequent bid round.