29 March, 2019 - Minister McHugh announces opening of application process for new Summer Works Scheme

New multi-annual scheme will see over €100m invested

Climate action and drive for energy efficiency monitoring a major focus for new applications

 

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today announced the opening of the application process for a new multi-annual Summer Works Scheme.

The scheme is backed by funding of more than €100 million as part of Project Ireland 2040 to enable school authorities to carry out small and medium scale works to improve and upgrade existing school buildings and facilities.

The Department is also providing school authorities with a better lead in period for planning and delivering projects under the Summer Works Scheme.

The key features of this new scheme are:

 

  • Longer application period – School authorities will have 13 weeks until 30 June 2019 to submit applications under the new Summer Works Scheme.  This compares to about five weeks in previous schemes.
  • Approvals in Q4 2019 – School authorities will be notified at the end of this year of successful applications for delivery in summer 2020.  This provides a good lead-in period for school authorities to manage the planning, organisation, procurement and delivery of their projects.
  • The new number one category on the list is Life Safety Systems, including fire safety measures.
  • Climate action – the new Summer Works Scheme includes an obligation on schools to sign up to a system of online reporting of energy use through the Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland (SEAI).

 

Minister Joe McHugh said: “I am pleased to announce the opening of the application process for a new Summer Works Scheme that will apply on a multi-annual basis with more than €100 million funding.

“The Summer Works Scheme is a very important devolved delivery mechanism for enabling upgrading works to be undertaken in existing school buildings through the country. I am particularly pleased that school authorities are being given a longer application period and a better lead-in period for planning and delivering their projects under the scheme. Shortly after I was appointed Minister I committed to giving principals and boards of management more time to plan their building and improvement works.  Now we are delivering on that promise.  This will help to manage the workload of school authorities in delivering their projects.”

The categories of works that can be delivered under the Summer Works Scheme include life safety systems, roof upgrades, electrical and mechanical works, window upgrades, school fabric improvements etc.

The categorisation of projects has also been changed following a review. The new number one category is “Life Safety Systems”. It includes the replacement or upgrade of Fire Alarm, Fire Detection and Emergency Lighting. This new category draws on experience from the Department’s Fire Safety Assessment Programme.

It is a matter for each school authority to identify the most urgently required project to be funded from the Summer Works Scheme. Each school can apply for one project and will be responsible for the delivery of the project on a devolved basis. Works are typically undertaken during the summer holiday period which minimises disruption to the operation of schools.

As part of the Government’s Climate Action, the Department has changed the Summer Works Scheme to include an obligation on schools to commit to report energy use.

Schools are now required by legislation to report their energy use annually. This is done through the SEAI’s website Energy-in-business/Monitoring and Reporting for schools. Payment of a Summer Works Scheme grant will be subject to a school registering on the SEAI website and making a commitment to submit the appropriate returns.

Full details on the Summer Works Scheme are available on the Department's website at https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/Building-Works/Summer-Works/

This also includes information on SWS Helpline Freephone service (Freephone 1800 804 069) that is being put in place to assist school authorities with any queries in relation to the Scheme.

The Esinet platform that schools currently use to make payroll returns has been extended to facilitate online applications from schools for the Summer Works Scheme.  The Esinet system will be open for applications in mid-April 2019 and schools can submit applications up until 30 June 2019.  Schools are requested to note that paper based applications will not be accepted by the Department.

ENDS

Notes for Editors

The Circular accompanying the Scheme is available on the Department's website: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0027_2019.pdf

The Circular governing the scheme provides that school applications in the following categories will be prioritised on a top down priority basis, as follows:

Categories

Priority/Category 1: Life Safety Systems

(Fire Alarm, Fire Detection and Emergency Lighting)

Priority/Category 2: Roof Works                                                                    

Priority/Category 3: Electrical Works (other than Life Safety Systems)

Priority/Category 4: Mechanical Works

Priority/Category 5: Science Labs (incl. Gas Works)

Priority/Category 6: Toilet facilities

Priority/Category 7: Windows Projects

Priority/Category 8: Curricular Requirements (excl. Science Labs)

Priority/Category 9: Fabric defects

Priority/Category 10: External environment projects