As for leases and licences, permission is required from the Site Trustee for any alterations to buildings.
In terms of funding:
- Basic Needs funding is available via the LEA for those cases where there is not sufficient capacity in existing schools for the local population. This does not apply when a successful school is attracting children at the expense of others nearby.
- Major capital expenditure
- Voluntary Controlled Schools are dealt with by the LEA
- Voluntary Aided (VA) Schools priorities will be determined by conditional surveys. The external grounds, each building and its infrastructure is assessed and graded for current condition and timeframe for replacement. The survey will determine the priority work that needs to be commissioned at the VA schools to comply with the terms and conditions of the School Condition Allocations (SCA) grant that replaced LCVAP on 01 April 2020.
- Academies apply for funding to the CIF
- Smaller capital expenditure
- Voluntary Controlled Schools receive a Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) grant each year and manage this alongside their budget
- Voluntary Aided Schools also receive DFC – see separate notes
- Academies have an equivalent capital allowance built in to their Annual Grant.
Schools Condition Allocations (SCA) Grant
- The document published on www.gov.uk website states; “Condition funding is the money we allocate each year to improve and maintain the condition of the school estate (buildings and grounds).”
- The document guidance continues, “Voluntary aided schools –the relevant diocese, or lead diocese in the case of diocesan chains, will lead the process to agree which projects should be taken forward.” Lincoln Diocese is the lead in partnership with Sheffield.
- A summary table regarding how the Diocese should determine relevant projects reads; “Investment should be prioritised on keeping school buildings safe and in good working order by tackling poor building condition, building compliance, energy efficiency, and health and safety issues.”
In order for the Diocese to receive grant, terms and conditions were published which had to be signed and return. The key points within that document are listed below;
- Grant must be used on capital expenditure
- Part II of Schedule 3 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 provides that the governing body (GB) of a VA school is responsible for meeting the capital expenditure necessary for the purposes of maintaining and improving that school, with the exception of any expenditure relating to playing fields or any other building structure erected thereon in connection with the use of playing fields (responsibility of the local authority). GB’s are responsible for maintaining an environment that is safe and in good working order for children to learn, and are expected to priorities tackling poor condition, addressing building compliance issues, and dealing with health & safety and energy efficiency issues. Dioceses must play an oversight role in ensuring that GB’s are upholding these responsibilities. (para 10)
- The amount of grant available remains unchanged at 90% of total expenditure. The remaining 10% is funded through the governor’s contribution.
- The cost of a project will be inclusive of VAT that cannot be reclaimed.
- The governors 10% contribution will be based on the gross cost of the project.
- The Dept of Education or Secretary of State may request evidence to support decisions on prioritised projects in line with the purpose of the grant. The Diocese needs an understanding of the estate and formulate a plan to prioritise work, hence the conditional surveys.
- Information may also be requested of a schools policies and procedures that ensure buildings support the provision of a safe environment for children and staff along with complying with current regulations (para 24)
- The new funding grant leans towards developing a capital asset plan, the conditional survey will provide the ground work and starting point on the condition and likely timeframe for replacement. This knowledge will be used when prioritising projects for funding.
- Individual VA schools must allow for site safety and security through upholding maintenance and inspections activities, which should cover the security arrangements in place at the school (para 30).
- LDBE appreciates the greater the value of the project, some flexibility in paying the governors contribution may be required. In those circumstances, that will need to be agreed in advance with LDBE but paid in full if the school converts or moves into an academy.
Devolved Formula Capital – DFC
Voluntary AIDED Schools
- DFC funds the smaller capital works for schools and the latest guidance (April 2020) states;
- DFC provides schools with capital funding to address their own priorities. DFC funding can be used for improvements to buildings and other facilities, including ICT, or capital repairs/refurbishment and minor works.
- The minimum value of a project is £2,000 (net) or £2,400 (gross) inclusive of VAT.
- It must be one project rather that a number of unrelated items grouped together that individually cost less than £2,000 (net) but collectively they would be above the threshold.
- The funding would allow a number of laptops individually costing less that £2,000 as this all relates to the same project.
- VAT cannot be reclaimed on DFC projects.
- DFC will fund 90% of the gross cost of the project and governors need to contribute the remaining 10%.
- The DFC annual allocation is usually received within three months of the start of the funding year (01 April).
- Where the funds are initially paid to LDBE, the money is transferred to individual school deposit accounts with CCLA which earned a small amount of interest paid quarterly.
Projects a VA school wishes to fund through DFC.
- Inform the LDBE of your plans and ask any questions about the eligibility of the project.
- Source a number of quotes for the work.
- Communicate the details of the supplier and price of the project to LDBE;
- To be aware of what is going on and update DFC balances
- Request an order no if required. A job number will also be issued for each project
- Update cash flow forecasts to know when to draw down 90% funding.
- When the project is complete, the school can request the invoice sent directly to LDBE but it should be addressed as follows;
- Governing Body of (insert name of school)
- c/o Lincoln Diocesan Board of Education
- Edward King House
- Minster Yard
- LN2 1PU
- LDBE will contact to the school before paying the invoice to confirm everything is complete and gain authorisation to pay.
- LDBE will pay the supplier in full and request a P.O. number from the school to raise an invoice for the governors 10% contribution.
Time constraints on DFC funding
- A school has three years to spend DFC allocations
- Year 1 is the year the funding is received (typically received in the first three months of the funding year)
- For example; the 2020 DFC allocations received in May 2020 will need to spend by 31 March 2023.