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Turning Failure into Success – Revisiting Unsuccessful CIF Bids

If you have applied for CIF funding for your academy school or sixth form college over the past couple of years but have not been successful, it can be tempting to throw in the towel; simply moving on to try and find another means of paying for required building works. However, have you considered the possibility of revisiting and reworking a bid submission with the help of a specialist that has a proven track record of success? Perhaps the works themselves may have been suitable for funding, but the manner or contents of the application let your bid down.

There are several elements to preparing and submitting a successful CIF bid and failure to complete each stage to the required level will likely result in a failed bid. For example, one element that is vital is evidence. Funding needs to be justified and this often involves submitting several pieces of evidence including: building surveyor’s reports, contractor’s prices, programmes of work, options appraisals, annotated photographs, SALIX energy savings calculators, reports of breakdowns and leaks etc.

Equally, for bids to be successful, they need to fall in line with the set of criteria applicable to the current round of funding. The competition for funding is fierce, so applications for projects that meet criteria which fall high up the CIF’s published list have a greater chance of gaining approval than those classed as low-priority.

If any of the above sounds familiar, it may be that you can re-apply for funding by having your bid reviewed and revised with an expert set of eyes.

This is a service Lea Hough can offer. When approached by academy schools who have been unsuccessful in previous rounds of funding, the first step is to assess previous failed bids, identify the weaknesses and advise whether it is in the best interests to re-apply. CIF bids that fail do receive feedback, so this is a good place to start in assessing the merits of applying for funding again. Where we deem a project does have the potential to win funding, we will create any additional evidence reports that are required, alongside tailoring the bid to meet the current criteria. By following our tried and tested methodology, we can give schools the best chance of being successful in the next round.

The work involved in preparing a CIF bid and compiling supporting information to justify a funding application is both complex and onerous. The choice of consultant is key – having the relevant experience in dealing with the EFA and the CIF portal can make all the difference.

Lea Hough has an exemplary track record of preparing and submitting CIF bids on behalf of academy schools and sixth form colleges. Lea Hough had an 81% success rate for CIF applications in the 2018-2019 funding round compared with a national average of 33%.

With the 2019-2020 funding round for CIF applications now open, now is the time to revisit any failed bids and get in touch with a specialist consultant to the education sector, such as ourselves.

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"I have read your report again and I appreciate the level of detail and the effort you have gone to in surveying the property - thank you. You’re looking at properties every day and you know what you’re looking for – so you’ve seen things that I would never have spotted. You have opened my eyes on numerous defects on this property and am seriously thinking about leaving the idea of buying. The report was money wells spent!"

Guido Staffa, GS Tiling Contractors Ltd.