Condition Data Collection
Condition Data Collection programme
The CDC is a programme that collects information through high level, non-invasive assessments on the condition of school buildings. It comprises various parts: the first was a property data survey which ran from 2012-14, then CDC1 which ran from 2017-19 and, at present, CDC2 which commenced in early 2021. CDC2 is due for completion in March 2026. Alongside its regular high level assessments, CDC2 collects additional information such as data on asbestos management and energy efficiency. The CDC is fundamental to generate ongoing, comparable datasets that provide a complete picture of the nature of the education estate and how establishments are performing over time. Another important aspect of this data collection is that it can be used to support decision making with regard to programmes that are funded by the DfE. For instance, the CDC played a crucial role in identifying schools to be included in the School Rebuilding Programme. Although it’s important to understand the CDC’s role and its importance, it is equally useful to be aware of what it does not do. For example, it does not provide cost information about estimated defect cost or value, and it’s purely a non-invasive visual inspection.
Information gathered goes through a rigorous QA process by Arcadis – a global design and consultancy company who have been assigned the technical quality manager – and a rigorous audit process to ensure information is as accurate as possible. On completion, schools and responsible bodies receive a high level report, detailing each of the condition grades assessed. It is worth noting that the CDC is not a statutory programme; but schools are encouraged to partake in CDC2 to assist the DfE in using such data to support decisions around capital allocations.
Condition Improvement Fund
There are two streams of condition funding where responsible public bodies are eligible for one or the other: school condition allocation and the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF). The school condition allocation is for larger organisations with over 3,000 pupils and more than five academies; whereas CIF is for smaller trusts, sixth form colleges and voluntary aided schools – all of which accommodate less than 3,000 pupils.
CIF is the only source of condition funding at present. Therefore, as a school or local authority, it is worth bidding for CIF as it could provide your school with a safety net to avoid future issues with regard to maintenance of your education building. Bids are rated on their score: higher scores have a higher likelihood of success. Bids are assessed following a government framework by three external assessors. Each section is assessed twice by two different people. This is a rigorous process, as on top of this, internal checks are also made. For instance, another way to determine an organisation’s success rate is reviewing their financial health, affordability of loans and their current funding agreement. If they are on the latest funding agreement, bonus points are awarded. It is also important to ensure that the organisation isn’t making use of other capital funding streams to avoid duplication and funding overlap. Outcomes are typically announced in the spring.
To put forward a strong application for CIF, never assume the assessor has knowledge of your school or its issues; ensure the application communicates a clear story about the implications and consequences of the condition issue; provide evidence including photos to corroborate claims, particularly around electrics, boilers and heating systems; and provide quotes to support costings – if you have different specifications for quotes, then it won’t provide assurance around cost certainty.
Ultimately, the CDC programme plays a fundamental role in the collection of consistent, up-to-date data with baseline and follow up evidence for comparison, while CIF ensures fair and efficient decisions are made by undergoing rigorous checks and assessments. This information enables the DfE to be successful in identifying education estates in greatest need.