Frequently Asked Questions

Updated Tuesday 22 February 2022

These FAQs relate to the application stage of the Low Carbon Skills Fund (LCSF) and were discussed at our Phase 2 LCSF webinars held on 2 and 11 February. Find FAQs about delivering the grant below.

Q1. I am concerned our Heat Decarbonisation Plan (HDP) will not be ready by 31 March 2022, what should I do?

A. The deadline for Salix Finance to receive your finalised HDP(s) is 31 March 2022. If you are concerned that your plan will not be ready by this time, please inform your relationship manager at the earliest opportunity so we can discuss your situation. Please note that there is no opportunity for the grant to pay for work that takes place outside of the grant period.

Q2. Should my organisation pay our contractors first and then submit our Payment Request to Salix, or wait until we have received the grant money and then pay them?

A. This is a decision for your organisation and not something that Salix Finance can advise on.

Q3. Do we need to submit our final Payment Request to Salix Finance alongside our HDP document, or at another time?

A. It’s not essential to send these in together, but it would be very useful if you could, so we won’t have to come back to you to ask for more information. If you do not have your final Payment Request ready, but you have completed your HDP, we would encourage you to send your HDP to us.

Please note: To receive the final payment, you will need to have provided your HDP and signed your Completion Statement (via DocuSign), by the payment deadline. We will send the Completion Statement to you after we have received your HDP.

Q4. With respect to grant conditions, would a purchase order qualify as evidence of contract award?

A. In most cases we are looking for some sort of signed agreement that shows the work has been issued to a contractor, such as a contract award or variation letter. If you only have a purchase order, then we are happy to receive this from the Authorising Official accompanied with a statement to confirm that this is the only evidence available. Please note, the purchase order should reference Phase 2 LCSF and the purpose of the work with respect to the HDP.

Q5. Are UPRNs the same as UKPRNs?

A. A UKPRN is a UK Provider Reference Number. A UPRN is a Unique Property Reference Number and this is what we request. UPRNs exist for all buildings - if you go to the website ‘Check My Address’ you will be able to find the UPRN for each building by entering the postcode. Note that schools and academies should have building UPRNs as well as a Unique Reference Number (URN).

Q6. The Completion Statement includes a quality assurance checklist. If our HDP does not include all the content mentioned in this checklist, will we still receive funding?

A. Salix Finance HDPs have to address each of the quality assurance areas in some way, as the checklist draws directly from the schemes HDP Guidance, which was made available on the Salix Finance website when the scheme launched. By quality assuring your plan, your Authorising Official is confirming that the plan has been completed to a good standard and it can be used to help decarbonise your buildings.

We understand there will be variability across our client’s plans, and we would ask you to provide commentary underneath the checklist to explain what areas are not covered in your HDP and why. Your relationship manager will get in touch to discuss the matter further, should they have any queries ahead of processing your final payment.

Q7. Do I need to provide a UPRN for each of the sites that my grant work covers?

A. Yes - the purpose of asking for this information is to help quantify the benefits of the LCSF scheme and how your award does/may in the future relate to other Salix Finance grant schemes. You will have received an Excel template titled ‘Building Data’, please use this to provide the information if you have not already done so. If you have difficulty finding the UPRN for a particular building, please note this in your email when returning the completing document.

Q8. I received funding in January 2022, do I still need to complete a Schedule 4: Mid-term Monitoring Report?

A. Yes – you are required to provide this report once and by Friday 18 February; this is a condition of funding under Schedule 2 of your Grant Offer Letter. The Monitoring Report is a simple information request that should be quick to complete, and we are asking for the information via a webform so that providing your update is as straightforward as possible. By completing the report, you are informing Salix Finance and its funders of the status of your project half-way through your grant period. It is important that all grant recipients provide this report by the deadline stated in their Grant Offer Letter, regardless of what stage they have reached with their project.


Q9. Who needs to approve the final HDP(s) in my organisation?

A. Salix Finance has been pleased to support a variety of public sector organisations through the Phase 2 LCSF grant scheme, and each organisation will have its own approval processes.  As such, Salix Finance cannot advise who specifically needs to approve your HDP(s), but we anticipate that approval could come from a manager, the Authorising Official, a board, or a committee. If you are experiencing difficulties with the approval process, you should let your relationship manager know what these are and provide details on when it will be approved.

 

Questions below were uploaded on Tuesday 3 August 2021. 

Q1. Can applicants who have to deliver a heat decarbonisation plan as a condition of their Phase 1 Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme grant, apply for Phase 2 LCSF to deliver that plan?

A: Yes, provided that the work being carried out is additional. This means that the Phase 2 LCSF grant must be used to fund work that could not be completed without the grant, and must not be used for work that has already taken place or, used to cover costs that have already been incurred, or used to cover costs that the organisation already has budget for.

Q2. Can an applicant apply for Phase 2 LCSF to extend/update an existing heat decarbonisation plan?

A: Yes, provided that the work being carried out is additional. This means that the Phase 2 LCSF grant must be used to fund work that could not be completed without the grant, and must not be used for work that has already taken place or, used to cover costs that have already been incurred, or used to cover costs that the organisation already has budget for.

Q3. Can Phase 2 LCSF funding be used for costs incurred internally to deliver a heat decarbonisation plan?

A: LCSF grants can only be used to fund work that is additional, and would not otherwise be completed without the grant.  If internal resource is already available, the work funded by the grant will not be additional.  We will consider cases where internal resource is available, but at a charge and there is no funding available to meet those costs, and this can be robustly demonstrated.

Q4. Can eligible public sector bodies make more than one bid to the fund? 

A: Yes, however, Salix is expecting many applications. Applicants are encouraged to make a single application that contains all relevant requests. This will enable the assessment of your application to be completed quickly. 

Q5. I am a headteacher at a school, when should I apply for Phase 2 LCSF for our heat decarbonisation plan?

A: The July application window will be open to all eligible public sector bodies, including schools, to make an application.

A further dedicated application window will open for schools to apply for Phase 2 LCSF on the 13th September 2021. Funding for this window will be ring-fenced and will be open to applications from maintained and academy schools only.

Q6. Can a consultant make an application on behalf of a public sector organisation? 

A: No, the application must be authorised and managed by the appropriate Authorising Official of the eligible body, but a consultant can support you to complete the application if this is required. 

Q7. Is there a minimum/maximum amount that can be applied for? 

A: No.  

Q8. In order to help me prepare my application, what kinds of information will I be asked to provide in the Phase 2 LCSF Application Portal?

You will be asked for a range of information during the application including your organisation name, Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) for all the buildings that will be included in the heat decarbonisation plan. You can source your UPRN at www.findmyaddress.co.uk If you are applying on behalf of a school or academy you will require their Unique Reference Numbers.

You will also be asked for the Authorising Official contact details and that official must have delegated authority to sign off on the application grant value requested on behalf of the public sector body. 

The Application Portal will also ask you whether you were successful in receiving a grant from the Phase 1 Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund for a heat decarbonisation plan and whether you are applying for a heat decarbonisation plan that was required as part of a previous Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

Additionally, the Application Portal will ask further questions including whether you have a heat decarbonisation plan under development. Applicants who already have an existing HDP or one under development must upload it onto the Application Portal.

You will also be asked to describe your reasons for applying for the Phase 2 LCSF and how you intend to implement the actions identified in the HDP.

Other questions include; listing the number of buildings impacted by the proposed HDP, approximate total floor space (check your DEC certificate for Meter Square of public sites), number of hours allocated to prepare and pull together information prior to site visit as well as number of hours allocated on site surveying buildings and time allocated to produce the HDP report. 

Finally, you will also be asked to enter the grant value you would like to request from Phase 2 LCSF.
 

Q9. Can I apply for feasibility study work?

Yes, where feasibility studies are required as part of the development of a heat decarbonisation plan, they are eligible for funding.  As with all applications cost and deliverability will also be assessed alongside eligibility, so please provide sufficient information in your application to demonstrate that not only is the feasibility study required as part of your heat decarbonisation plan, but also that it is deliverable and its cost is proportionate to the scope of work proposed. Feasibility studies that are not being carried out as part of the development of a heat decarbonisation plan will not be eligible. All applicants awarded funding must complete their heat decarbonisation plans before 31st March 2022.  If your project, including any feasibility studies, does not complete before 31st March 2022 there will be no funding available for the balance of the project.
 

Q10. I am representing a sixth-form college, can I apply for the second application window?

Yes. Sixth Form Colleges can for the second window of Phase 2 LCSF as these establishments are treated as schools by the Department for Education (DfE), are eligible for DfE schools Capital Funding and have historically met the eligibility criteria for schools and academy funding programmes delivered by Salix. Salix reviews the eligibility of applicants on a case-by-case basis, so if you are unsure about your specific case, please contact us using the email: [email protected].

Q11. I have a couple of schools with biomass boilers, should we remove these as they still produce CO2?

The fund for the Heat Decarbonisation Plan does not say you need to remove biomass boilers and for Phase 2 they were considered a low carbon heating measure. However, you had to meet certain conditions to install them as they had air quality issues. If they are in good working order and there are no air quality concerns in the area, then these would not be the buildings to focus on in terms of decarbonisation of heat.

Q12. If a school is unsuccessful in the first application window, can they reapply in the second?

Yes, they can. There would not be any reason why this would not be allowed.

Q13. We wish to apply for funding for a whole number of schools. Can these all be in one application or is it best to group this into several smaller applications?

We would recommend one larger application but if not all the information is available, you can make multiple applications. It is easier for Salix to manage fewer applications.

Q14. Can a Local Authority apply on behalf of an academy in the next rounds?

Yes, they can.

Q15. Is there a limit on how many buildings are mentioned in one application?

There are no limits on the number of buildings you can apply for. However, please bear in mind that they would have to be deliverable by March 2022 and this will have to be evidenced.