Posted by Ben Thorne on April 21, 2017
For the larger MATs that qualify for the School Condition Allocations (over 3,000 pupils and at least 5 academies) funding is provided in line with the financial year to March. At the end of each year a declaration will need to be made to the ESFA.
The terms and conditions for 2016-17 have now been updated for 2017-18, and there are a few points that you need to be aware of so that you can plan appropriately.
Specific terms to consider:
The grant is to be used for the purpose of keeping academy buildings safe and in good working order by tackling poor building condition, building compliance, energy efficiency and health and safety issues. This is not an issue for most academies, and is in line with what 85% of CIF funding has been given for. Where the MATs miss out is on the 15% of CIF funding that has historically been made available for expansion projects. Therefore, by implication the SCA funding should not to be used for new builds without prior approval
Another key factor of the grant conditions was the timing of the spend. The 2016-17 grant conditions specifically noted that the grant should be spent in the year in which it has been paid (i.e. by 31 March 2017). Any funding unspent at the year end could be subject to recoupment by the Department for Education. It is important therefore that accurate records have been kept to be able to report this spend to the ESFA. The method for the reporting is via an “End of Financial Year Outturn Certificate”. This will be issued by the ESFA prepopulated with the grants made to the MAT with instructions for completion and a deadline for submission.
2017-18 terms and conditions
There are no changes to most of the terms and conditions of the grant but crucially the deadline for spending the grant has been changed. MATs may now carry forward up to 100% of the 2017-18 allocation into the next financial year. Any funding carried forward in excess of this amount, or unspent at the end of 2018-19 however will be repaid to the Department unless the Secretary of State decides otherwise. This does give some more flexibility for MATs if there are larger projects that may require more than one year’s funding. MATs will have to be careful however that such projects are still in line with the stated uses per the terms and conditions.
If you have been awarded SCA for 2017-18, the terms and conditions will be available to download now. You will need to complete the declaration that you accept the T&Cs of the grant before submitting to the ESFA by 21 April. The grant will not be paid until the ESFA receive this signed declaration.
Other points to note
The terms and conditions make it clear that the MAT can allocate the grant across its academies in a manner of its choosing, but there is an expectation that there is a sensible basis for this. There should therefore be a capital management plan that covers the whole Trust so the grant can be used most effectively, and where it is most needed and will make the most difference.
Further details of the SCA funding allocations for 2017-18 can be found here.
Should you have any questions please contact your usual Bishop Fleming representative.