Flexible and Structured Funds are the product of an extensive consultation with industry in 2015. In 2016, we listened to you again to find how we could further improve.
How have we done this?
In summer 2016, a year on from when it was first established, we reviewed the Flexible and Structured Funds. The aim of this review was to improve our distribution of funding to industry, or simply put, to invest your money well.
We reviewed feedback from over 200 customers who had submitted applications to the funds, both approved and declined, to capture their experiences and thoughts. We:
- held forums in the three nations to collect feedback
- conducted surveys and telephone interviews with applicants
- user-tested key parts of the funds, and
- compared our approach to other funding bodies such as Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund.
CITB has taken these findings and proposed some key changes for 2017. Those changes were played back to industry through a series of webinars and CITB’s Evidence Forum at the beginning of November.
The proposed changes - detailed below - will be applied to the next funding window which launches on 7 February 2017.
Skills and Training fund option
- Increase the opportunities for applicants to apply by keeping the fund open for most of the year, with scheduled evaluation milestones
- Allocate £3m to this fund option for hardest-to-reach parts of our industry, and increase eligible employers to those with less than 100 employees.
- Increase the funding: up to £10k to those employing less than 100, £7.5k for those employing less than 75, and £5k for those with less than 50 employees
- Allow applications from construction federations, of up to £10k to support their members
- Focus on people not claiming a grant(s) by restricting it from those already approved for other fund options
Improve the application form
- Reduce the questions asked to four areas: deliverables and beneficiaries, evidence of need, proposed solution, and assessment of alternative solutions
- Reduce the number of questions asked at stage 2 and provide increased support when developing funding agreements
- Introduce word counts for answers to reduce the risk of repetition, and encourage focused responses
Refine funding options (excluding skills and training)
- Move from four funding windows in a year to three, thereby increasing the opportunity to apply for projects of significant value
- Rename ‘innovation, pilots and prototypes’ to ‘innovation’ to increase the focus on receiving innovative solutions
- Move the structured funds ‘educational engagement’ and ‘enhanced incentives’ to commissioned fund options, ensuring funds align with industry priorities
- Make funding more targeted by developing the commissioned approach, and ensuring that investment decisions are aligned to evidence base and industry priorities
Changes to the fund criteria
- Collaboration will be embedded within each project by requiring all applications to have three named, eligible delivery partners
- Funds available in the ‘innovation’ fund will be streamlined so that £10,000-£500,000 is available to all applicants
- Funds available within all structured fund options will be £100,000 - £3,000,000 per project
- Trade unions will be able to participate as a delivery partner rather than as an applicant moving forwards
- Training interventions under the Skills and Training fund option will be required to be accredited so that they are transferrable across industry
2015/16 funding changes
In 2015, we conducted the Investment Funding Review to find out how to improve our skills and training funding for construction employers.
We consulted over 800 employers and federations in the industry to better understand what you need in terms of funding.
In response to the feedback you gave us in the review, we changed our funding system to make it easier to access and strongly linked to industry’s skills and training needs.
The changes were rolled out over 2015 and 2016, and we are monitoring your feedback throughout this period to improve things along the way.