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Academies Capital Maintenance Fund 2014-15 Round 1 now open

school children stood around school lockers Print publication

11/12/2013

The Academies Capital Maintenance Fund (ACMF) is available for academies to improve the condition of their school buildings and expand their facilities. The ACMF is administered by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

ACMF Round 1 is available to academies for building condition and expansion projects. To be eligible to apply, academies must be open as at 1 December 2013. Schools with an academy order signed on or before 1 December 2013 are also eligible to apply.

ACMF Round 1 funding

There are two priorities for the fund:

  1. Tackling building condition issues including health and safety issues that cannot be met from routine maintenance or Devolved Formula Capital funding.  Such projects refurbish or renew key building elements, such as roofs, windows and toilet areas and/or address compliance issues such as fire protection systems, electrical upgrades or asbestos removal. Where individual element replacement would not provide good value for money, Round 1 can support the complete refurbishment, or replacement of key blocks. The majority of the Round 1 funding will be awarded to projects that address these issues.
  2. Supporting popular, successful academies that wish to expand their existing facilities and floor space to accommodate more pupils within their existing age range and/or are currently overcrowded. Fifteen per cent of the Round 1 funding will be allocated to this.

Academies can apply for up to two projects to tackle either or both of these issues.

Although the maximum project limit is £4 million, the average ACMF project in recent years has been below £400,000 and applicants are encouraged to prioritise strongly their needs to keep the value of their projects down. The EFA anticipates that few applications at the higher end of the funding limit will be successful. Projects below £5,000 should be funded through Devolved Formula Capital or general maintenance funding rather than through the ACMF.

Timescales

The key milestones for the first round of ACMF 2014 to 2015 are:

Action Date
Online application portal opens By Friday 13 December 2013
Recommended target date for submitting applications Tuesday 28 January 2014
Deadline for submitting applications Friday 31 January 2014 at 12:00
Target date for notifying successful projects By Friday 25 April 2014

Top tips for preparing applications

The EFA has gathered lessons learned from previous ACMF rounds and distilled them into top tips for preparing ACMF applications.

1. Building condition survey

Carry out an up to date building condition survey as this will highlight urgent issues that need addressing across the site and help you to build your case for funding. Projects that are not urgent will need to demonstrate excellent value for money and/or deliverability. The EFA will look to prioritise replacement of items that have actually failed and it would help if you can provide evidence from a suitable professional that a repair is not possible and/or more expensive than a replacement.

2. Options appraisal

The EFA needs to know that projects have been well thought through, repairs have been considered rather than simple replacement and risks considered appropriately. A brief but thorough options appraisal (including a do nothing option) will help build the case for your proposed project.

3. Asbestos management survey

Discovering additional asbestos once work has begun is the most common reason for delay or cost over runs to ACMF projects – once the EFA have made an allocation, they can only increase it in exceptional circumstances. An up to date survey will help you to understand the risks and your responsibilities around asbestos and gives potential contractors a useful reference point when they are providing a quote for works.

4. Technical advice

For larger projects most academies will need to draw on technical advisors to develop the feasibility study and detailed design, secure planning approval, oversee procurement and manage the project.

5. Quote for the works

Including quotes rather than estimates helps to build confidence in the costs you are presenting and indicates that the project is close to being ready to go. Academies are responsible for procuring works and securing good value for the public purse.

6. Understand the impact on the academy during the project

If you need to manage work being done on site during term time, you need to understand the key issues and risks, particularly if the works require more than one contractor on site at one time. Consider as far as possible whether there are ways to avoid expenditure on temporary accommodation as this will erode the value for money case for the project.

Multi-academy trusts

Trusts with at least 10 academies as of 1 December 2013 (including those schools with a signed academy order) will have the option to receive a capital funding allocation for all their academies for the 2014 to 2015 financial year.

The allocation is based on pupil numbers per academy within the trust, multiplied by a per pupil rate and then weighted on the scale of recent capital investment on that site. However, MATs do not have to direct their funding according to the amounts identified per academy in the formula used for calculating their ACMF allocation.

We will inform eligible trusts of their indicative allocation by 20 December 2013.

The benefits of receiving a MAT allocation are:

  • The trust can prioritise capital works across their estate for the 2014 to 2015 financial year
  • Lump sum capital funding can help the trust to plan and budget more effectively
  • Flexibility of funding deployment (within the terms of the ACMF Funding Agreement)
  • Potential cost savings by grouped procurement of works

If a multi-academy trust accepts the MAT allocation, none of their academies can apply in ACMF 2014 to 2015 Round 1 or Round 2. Eligible trusts must inform the EFA by 17 January 2014 if they wish to opt out of their MAT allocation. Trusts that opt out will then have until 31 January 2014 for their academies to submit separate ACMF applications.

Trusts who believe that they qualify for these arrangements but have not received an indicative allocation by 21 December 2013, should contact the EFA immediately.

How to apply and further information

You can only apply by using the secure online application website, which should be open by 13 December 2013: https://www.education.gov.uk/efacapital/portal.

There is further information and advice in the ACMF round 1 information for applicants document, which academies need to read before making an application.

The closing date for applications is 31 January 2014 and funding allocations will be announced in April 2014.

The deadline for spending funding is 31 March 2015 for one year projects and 31 March 2016 for a limited number of two year projects.

ACMF 2014 to 2015 Round 2

ACMF Round 2 funding will be available to new academies that open after 1 December 2013 and schools with an academy order signed on or before 1 June 2014. Academies that apply to ACMF Round 1 cannot apply to ACMF Round 2.

Further information about how to apply for Round 2 of the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund will be available in late spring 2014 and funding allocations will be announced in October 2014.

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