Munday and Cramer

How to Improve the Likelihood of Successful Bid Applications

The Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can be a game-changer for schools and academies looking to renovate at-risk or outdated buildings. Competition to gain this funding, however, is fierce. In fact, only 19% of the 4,547 institutions eligible for CIF funding experienced successful bid applications in 2023. It’s not surprising that the success rate is this low. Bid applications are an incredibly tricky and time-consuming process, with so many different hoops to jump through. Of course, you’ll want to do everything to ensure your bid application’s success, but how can you increase your chances? 

What is the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF)?

CIF is essentially an annual bidding round for educational institutions to apply for capital funding. This could be because of health and safety issues associated with the school, building compliance, or generally poor building condition. Successful bid applications must be mindful of the three weighted criteria you are scored against. These are project need (60%), project planning (15%) and project cost (25%). More information on the criteria can be found by clicking here. 

Tips For Achieving Successful Bid Applications

Clean and Extensive Evidencing

Your assessor will never have visited your school before; they’re only going off the information presented in your application. You want to show them why funding for your school is a priority and cannot wait until next year. Be detailed here and explain the impact of these issues on the education and safety of your students. It’s also essential to include specialist surveys, technical reports, and plans carried out by independent, chartered surveying professionals. From our experience at Munday + Cramer, these factors go a long way in boosting applications’ success rates. 

Emphasise Project Urgency

Within your proposal, it’s always important to include the costs of doing nothing. The vast majority of successful bid applications will be from schools which demonstrates their urgent need for funding. If your application gives off the impression that maintenance can wait until next year, there is little chance for success. 

Include Detailed Costings in Your Report

It’s essential you set a realistic budget for your application. Funding requests will only be considered for projects with a value of between £20,000 and £4 million. It’s understandable to want to keep costs low, but never underestimate them. Should you do so, you run the risk of going over budget, and will be unable to complete your maintenance project. When preparing your application, include industry benchmarks, quotes from multiple tenders, and commitments to your own financial contribution. 

Consult An External Bid Writer

When preparing a CIF bid, it’s essential you allocate all the time you need in order to perfect your application. For many school leaders, however, this just isn’t feasible when combined with their pre-existing workloads. It’s therefore no wonder many opt to bring in the help of an external bid writer like Munday and Cramer.  

Get In Touch

If you’re struggling in receiving successful bid applications, get in touch! Call our team today on 01245 326 200 or send an email over to