Applications for devolved funding for additional accommodation can be submitted as needs arise and are considered on a case by case basis. In the context of the number of applications received and the funding available, priority is given to the provision of mainstream classrooms and accommodation for special education.
Other factors taken into account include the demographic growth in the area, the enrolment trends at the school making the application, the capacity of neighbouring schools and so forth.
Given the fact that school authorities are fully responsible for managing the delivery of their devolved building projects, large scale projects cannot be considered for devolved funding.
All works to be allocated funding under my Department's Devolved Schemes must be offered to the market in accordance with EU and National procurement guidelines.
School management authorities must comply with all the requirements of Technical Guidance Documents TGD 007 and TGD 008 (Design Team Procedures for Small Works and Engaging Professional Consultants for Small Works respectively) which are available on my Department's website. These guidelines provide opportunities for all contractors to tender. Failure to comply with these guidelines may expose the school management authorities to challenge and subsequent financial penalties from a consultant or contractor who feels he/she was not afforded an opportunity to tender. Any such challenge could also result in the project being substantially delayed.
These guidelines provide a balanced approach by allowing access for smaller firms while also ensuring that appropriate consultants are engaged for small works. The full terms and conditions attaching to a devolved grant are issued to the school in the approval letter.