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Council and Democracy

Issue - meetings

Insurance for Schools

Meeting: 11/02/2020 - Schools' Forum (Item 57)

57 Insurance for Schools pdf icon PDF 260 KB

To consider a report from the Assistant Director of Education and Assistant Director of Finance with regard to extending the Academies Risk Protection Arrangement to the Local Authority Maintained Schools sector.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Assistant Director of Education and Assistant Director of Finance, presenting the Government consultation response in relation to extending the Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) to the Local Authority Maintained Schools sector.

 

It was outlined that the Department for Education had been considering extending the RPA, currently operational for Academy Trusts to the Local Authority Maintained Schools sector so that this sector could benefit from potential savings associated with the scheme.  As the charge for RPA is based on pupil numbers only, the charges from the Local Authority based on commercial insurers were not competitive.

 

The Forum considered the results of the consultation, which ran from 9 September to 4 November 2019.  These finding were summarised as follows:

·         55% of respondents to the consultation supported the proposed extension of the RPA cover to Local Authority Managed Schools (LAMS).  They suggested that their current commercial insurance was potentially not cost effective and they could save money if the RPA was extended to LAMS.

·         25% of respondents disagreed with the proposal and suggested that the current commercial market worked well.  They, therefore, did not consider it necessary to extend RPA to LAMS.

·         20% of respondents were unsure and noted that they would need further information before reaching a decision.

 

It was further highlighted that the cumulative response from the Local Authority Maintained Schools sector was strongly positive, with 83% agreeing to the extension of RPA to LAMS, from April 2020. 

 

It was explained that the RPA was not an insurance scheme but was a mechanism through which the cost of risks would be covered by Government funds and that this was a voluntary arrangement, which over 6,100 academies had joined since it was launched in September 2014.  It was also stated that the coverage of risk offered by the RPA was commensurate with that currently offered by commercial insurers.

 

With regard to extending RPA to local Authority Maintained Schools, a number of membership issues were highlighted, including:

  • Church academies would only permitted to join the RPA if they had written approval from their trustees.  This would apply to Church LAMS.
  • It is acknowledged that, in most maintained schools, the Local Authority would retain ownership of the school property and the associated liabilities relating to providing an education service, staff employment and property maintenance and would need to be satisfied with the overall risk cover that a school had in place.
  • PFI schools would need to be reviewed as the document states that, for PFI schools who paid for premises/Building insurance via the PFI Unitary Charge, it was unlikely that they would benefit from joining the RPA. Under the current arrangements for academies, Multi Academy Trusts were allowed to leave them out and this would also need to apply to Local Authority PFI schools

 

It was stated that RPA would be offered on a voluntary basis from 1 April 2020 and would be open to any Local Authority Maintained Primary or Secondary Schools who were not contractually  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57