To cater to a predicted increase in the 16-19 year-old demographic, the UK Government recently announced a new capital funding scheme intended for institutions that offer Further Education (FE). The rollout of the new scheme coincides with the UK’s broader commitment to its ‘levelling up’ agenda; an initial £83 million has been set aside for the scheme’s first year, with the hope of striking a longer-term deal for funding in the near future. The team here at Munday + Cramer offer extensive support for bid applications in the south-east, ranging from CIF funding to Salix loans. We wanted to pick out some of the key points from the new fund.
The Fund’s Core Objectives
According to the (substantial) official guidance released by the Government pertaining to the scheme, its objectives are three-fold:
- To provide additional capacity in 16-19 providers.
- To ensure that additional capacity delivered reflects learner demand.
- To make sure that any projects delivered thanks to the fund are done so in an efficient and sustainable way.
The scheme is only intended for institutions offering FE, specifically:
- FE colleges (established as an FE corporation under FHEA 1992).
- Designated institutions (as per section 28 of FHEA 1992).
- Sixth form colleges (as defined under section 91 of FHEA 1992).
- Academies (established as per Academies Act 2010).
Those are the eligible parties, then, but what about the kinds of projects themselves that are potentially suitable for funding? Given that the core tenet of the fund pertains to increasing space for learners, unsurprisingly this too informs the framework for project eligibility. Eligible projects will be those that:
- Increase overall GIFA (Gross Internal Floor Area) of both learning spaces and associated areas.
- Rejig existing GIFA in a way that the space could then enable more learners.
- Further to this, projects will have to display that they also meet these additional requisites:
- The asset seeking investiture should be held on freehold, or at least on long lease.
- Where the asset is owned by charitable trustees, there may (following strong justification that there’s no viable alternative) be exceptions where alternative tenure agreements are considered.
- The asset in question must primarily function to provide education to students aged between 16 and 19. That adult learners might too benefit is positive, but should not be the primary purpose of the investment.
- Where necessary, professional fees may be included within bid applications and project costs, so long as they’re proportionate to the works in question.
Given the specificity of the post-16 fund, there’s a whole raft of project types that are deemed ineligible for funding. These include:
- The purchase of land.
- Estate creation that isn’t directly intended for further and technical education; the construction of an atria, for instance.
- Miscellaneous expenditure, including: internal staffing costs, the supply of loose furniture and rent service charges to name just a few.
- Estate expansion which has already been addressed through other funding e.g. CIF. That said, applicants can apply for funding to complement other project proposals, however they can’t apply for it for the same expansion project if said project has secured additional funding via a different route.
- If in doubt as to the eligibility of your project, the best thing to do is get in touch and we can assess whether your bid application has ‘legs’ or not, so to speak.
Project Value Thresholds
As with all capital funding schemes, there are both minimum and maximum project value thresholds in place. The minimum project value that an eligible application can have is £100,000. On the other end of the scale, the maximum project value sits at £4,000,000. Applications will be judged on three criteria: project need, project planning and project cost. These criteria are weighted at 40%, 30% and 30% respectively. The fund has geared up this way as such with the intention of funding those parties most in need. Project need will primarily be assessed using both growth and demand data.
Key Dates For The Post-16 Capacity Fund
Even though applicant guidance may have only just been released, the deadline for submissions is already only just around the corner. The deadline for bid applications is 14th June, 2021. Notifications regarding whether a submission has been successful or not are expected at some point during that same summer. All projects must then be delivered completely by 31st August, 2022.
So, if you’d like to find out more about our support for bid applications, then get in touch! With time of the essence for this year’s applications, there’s no time to lose. Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200 or by emailing us at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can fill out one of our online enquiry forms and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.