ALARM responds to DfE consultation

Monday 4 November 2019

Following the Department for Education (DfE) launching its consultation on extending the academies' risk protection arrangement (RPA) to local authority maintained schools (LAMS), ALARM highlighted to members points that should be considered, and raised with the DfE. Following the issue of those points, the DfE had provided a response to our comments, which resulted in ALARM seeking further clarification.  

ALARM has formally responded to the consultation advising that the service currently provided to schools goes beyond just arranging their insurances. The service includes risk management advice, claims support and handling, and site inspections to assist in identifying and managing operational risks. Councils and insurers also support and project manage responses in the event of a major loss.

Furthermore, there is a potential impact on jobs in council teams that support schools from a risk management and insurance perspective: ALARM has questioned whether consideration has been given to the impact on these jobs? In some councils, with large volumes of schools, it may mean having to make people redundant, with all associated costs: and we have asked will the Department for Education compensate councils for this? Councils may potentially lose skills and expertise needed in other areas of the organisation to support wider risk agendas.

ALARM does not support extending the scheme to local authority maintained schools, as we are not aware of any evidence that LAMS would be better placed in joining the RPA, rather than continuing with their current arrangements. In doing so, schools will lose vital support from their council, insurers, and the wider insurance and local authority community. A provision of local services at a local level will be lost, along with the level of specialist expertise currently on offer through the mix of councils' self-insurance and commercial insurance arrangements.

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