Investigating the Further Education Capital Transformation Fund (FECTF)


The Further Education Capital Transformation Fund (FECTF) is a Government fund aimed at tackling poor estate condition within designated Further Education (FE) institutions and colleges. The FECTF has been set up as part of the Government’s £1.5 billion commitment to transforming FE institutions over the next half a decade.

The aim of the fund is to significantly reduce the number of FE college estates deemed to be in an “unsatisfactory condition”. Full details of the FECTF from the UK Government can be found here, but for the sake of ease, the team here at Munday + Cramer, who offer extensive bid application services, wanted to extrapolate the document’s most salient points.

Application Eligibility

Institutes

Which institutions, then, are eligible for this additional capital funding? Applications are only open to the following:

  • “Institutions established as a further education corporation under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (FHEA 1992)”
  • “Designated institutions for further education established under section 28 of FHEA 1992.”

It’s important to note that the FECTF is not available to schools, academies, sixth form college corporations or other higher education providers.

Projects

In terms of project eligibility, the fund has extensive and detailed requirements – again, why we’d advocate utilising bid application services in the first instance – and includes the following requisites:

  • Proposed capital projects must address the condition need of building elements within the estate. Project proposals should address condition issues with ratings of B, C or D as per the Further Education Capital Data Collection (FECDC). This may revolve around improvements to external walls, roofs, windows, doors and electrical services.
  • Any assets towards which capital investment is targeted should be owned by the FE corporation in freehold (or, at the very least, on a very long lease).
  • In certain (very limited) cases, FECTF funding may be used for expansion projects, remodelling and demolition
  • Funding is not eligible for the following:
    • Any project whose main objective isn’t to address poor condition.
    • Land purchases.
    • The improvement of facilities not primarily linked to the furthering of education and technical education, e.g. student accommodation facilities.
    • Various miscellaneous expenditures like routine upkeep, staffing charges or preventative maintenance work.

Bid Application Stages

Bidding for the Further Education Capital Transformation Fund comprises two main stages:

Stage 1

Stage 1 assesses an application’s overall eligibility and in many ways, is a way of sorting out the wheat from the chaff in terms of those projects that need the funding most. Stage 1 bid applications must prove that they meet the appropriate stage 1 qualification criteria.

Qualification Criteria

The criterion to be met in order for an institution to progress to stage 2 of applications, include:

  • Evidence of condition.
  • Summary and confirmation of approval of estate strategy.
  • Provision of a business case.
  • Evidence supporting efficient use of existing space.
  • A statement setting out how proposal aligns with existing reforms to further education and technical education (T-Levels, for instance).
  • Indicative project costs.
  • Summary of how proposal aligns with local action plans.
  • Provision of a high-level project plan with key dates and milestones.

Stage 2

Should an FE institution pass both the stage 1 eligibility and qualification criteria checks, then they will be requested (if they’ve not already done so as part of their application) to bid in the fund’s second stage. It’s important to note, however, that qualification for this second stage is no automatic guarantee of FECTF funding.

The second stage of applications centres around both a proposal’s robustness and its overall deliverability and applications will be heavily scrutinised. Further clarification will be published in the coming months as to what specific details are required within this next bid submission, however the criteria addressed in stage 1 applications will likely be built upon in the stage 2. This might include, for example, further evidence of proper costings, the proposed risk management procedures and the overall suitability of the proposed solution in addressing estate condition.

Other Important Details

  • The Further Education Capital Transformation Fund is targeted at significant condition improvements and not lower-level projects. The minimum threshold value for a project, therefore, is £500,000.
  • Match funding: successful applicants are expected to provide a contribution towards a project’s funding (with a maximum contribution equivalent to 50% of a project’s value). This funding can come from an FE institution’s own reserves, corporate donations, commercial loans and external grant funding but it cannot originate from any central Government capital funding – T Levels Capital Funding, for example.

Key Dates For First Round Of FECTF Bidding

Stage 1 application deadline: 15th March 2021 (11:59 PM)

Stage 1 outcome notifications: 14th May 2021

Stage 2 application deadline: 30th July 2021 (11:59 PM)

Stage 2 outcome notifications: W/C: 27th September 2021

Make Your Life Easier!

Successfully navigating the world of capital funding is a minefield at the best of times, and when applications are so time-sensitive, you can’t afford to make mistakes. Munday + Cramer will both oversee entire bid applications as well as review/enhance existing applications. We can develop the strategic, technical, financial and deliverability cases for your FE institution, as well providing detailed documentation and ensuring seamless project delivery.

Contact Us

If you’d like to find out more about our bid application services, then, and how we can help with your FECTF application, just get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200 or by emailing us at info@mcessex.co.uk.