‚Äč Local Election Results - 2 May 2019

Section 13: Community facilities

13.1 Application of Schemes for Financing Schools to the Community Facilities Power

13.2 Impact on main school budget

13.3 Consultation with the authority - financial aspects

13.4 Funding agreements - authority powers

13.5 Other prohibitions, restrictions and limitations

13.6 Supply of financial information to the Authority

13.7 Audit

13.8 Treatment of income and surpluses

13.9 Health and safety

13.10 Insurance

13.11 Taxation

13.12 Banking

13.1 Application of Schemes for Financing Schools to the Community Facilities Power

Schools which choose to exercise the power conferred by s.27 (1) of the Education Act 2002 to provide community facilities will be subject to a range of controls. First, regulations made under s.28 (2), if made, can specify activities which may not be undertaken at all under the main enabling power.

Secondly, the school is obliged to consult its authority and have regard to advice from the authority.

Thirdly, the Secretary of State issues guidance to governing bodies about a range of issues connected with exercise of the power, and a school must have regard to that.

However, under s.28(1), the main limitations and restrictions on the power will be those contained in the maintaining authority's scheme for financing schools made under section 48 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 as amended by paragraph 2 of Schedule 3 to the Education Act 2002. This amendment extended the coverage of schemes to include the exercise of the powers of governing bodies to provide community facilities.

Schools are therefore subject to prohibitions, restrictions and limitations in the scheme for financing schools.

This part of the scheme does not extend to joint-use agreements; transfer of control agreements, or agreements between the authority and schools to secure the provision of adult and community learning.

13.2 Impact on main school budget

The mismanagement of community facilities funds can be grounds for suspension of the right to a delegated budget.

Schools must maintain separate accounts and bank accounts for budget share and community facilities and should maintain the same controls on this bank account as they do for the budget share bank account.

13.3 Consultation with the authority - financial aspects

Schools must seek Authority advice in any proposal to provide community facilities and must have regard to advice from the Authority. Schools must give the Authority a minimum of 4 weeks response time in such consultation and may be required to submit further information if insufficient data is submitted for an informed response.



13.4 Funding agreements - authority powers

Schools seeking to enter into any funding agreement with a third party either supplying funding or supplying funding and taking part in the provision, must submit any such proposed agreement to the Director of Children's, Education & Early Help Services for comment. Schools must give the Authority a minimum of 4 weeks response time in such consultation.

Schools seeking Authority advice and submitting proposals to the Authority for comment must take into account the comments of the Authority and inform the Authority what action has been taken following Authority advice. Whilst the Authority has no right of veto for such agreements, if an agreement has been or is to be concluded against the wishes of the Authority, or as been concluded without informing the Authority, which in the view of the Authority is seriously prejudicial to the interests of the school or the Authority, that may constitute grounds for suspension of the right to a delegated budget.

13.5 Other prohibitions, restrictions and limitations

In cases where the Authority considers that a proposed project carries significant financial risks to the Authority, it may require the governing body concerned to make arrangements to protect the financial interests of the Authority by either carrying out the activity concerned through the vehicle of a limited company formed for the purpose, or by obtaining indemnity insurance for risks associated with the project as specified by the Authority.

13.6 Supply of financial information to the Authority

Schools which exercise the community facilities power should provide the Authority every six months with a summary statement showing the income and expenditure for the school arising from the facilities in question for the previous six months and on an estimated basis, for the next six months.
Should the Authority consider there to be cause for concern as to the school's management of the financial consequences of the exercise of the community facilities power, it may request financial statements every three months and the submission of a recovery plan for the activity in question if required.

13.7 Audit

Schools, in concluding funding agreements with other persons pursuant to the exercise of the community facilities power, should ensure that such agreements contain adequate provision for access by the Authority to the records and other property of those persons held on the school premises, or held elsewhere insofar as they relate to the activity in question, in order for the Authority to satisfy itself as to the propriety of expenditure on the facilities in question.

13.8 Treatment of income and surpluses

Schools may retain all net income derived from community facilities except where otherwise agreed with a funding provider.

Schools may carry such retained net income over from one financial year to the next as a separate community facility supply, or transfer all or part of it to the budget share balance.

If the school is a community or community special school and the Authority ceases to maintain the school, any accumulated retained income obtained from exercise of the community facilities power reverts to the Authority.

13.9 Health and safety

The health and safety provisions of the main scheme (see section 11.5) also apply to the community facilities power.

The governing body will be responsible for the costs of securing Criminal Records Bureau clearance for all adults involved in community activities taking place during the school day.

13.10 Insurance

It is the responsibility of the governing body to ensure adequate arrangements are made for insurance against risks arising from the exercise of the community facilities power. The school should seek the Authority's advice before finalising any insurance arrangement for community facilities and should allow a two week response time for the Authority. The Authority may undertake its own assessment of the insurance arrangements made by a school in respect of community facilities and if it judges those arrangements to be inadequate, make arrangements itself and charge the resultant cost to the school.

13.11 Taxation

Schools should seek the advice of the Authority initially and the local VAT office or professional VAT advice on any issues relating to the possible imposition of Value Added Tax on income and expenditure in connection with community facilities and any company set up to manage such facilities.
Schools must fulfil the Authority's directions on VAT issues that impact on the Authority's VAT return or position.

If any member of staff employed by the school or Authority in connection with community facilities at the school is paid from funds held in a school's own back account, the school is likely to be held liable for payment of income tax and National Insurance, in line with HM Revenue and Customs rules.
Schools should follow Authority advice in relation to the Construction Industry Scheme where this is relevant to the exercise of community facilities power.

13.12 Banking

Schools should either maintain separate bank accounts for budget share and community facilities, or have one account but with adequate internal accounting controls to maintain separation of funds. School should also have regard to the provisions at 3.5 and 3.6 above relating to the banks which may be used, signing of cheques, the titles of bank accounts, the contents of bank account mandates, and similar matters. The general approach to these matters should mirror these sections, except that a provision requiring that a mandate show the LA as owner of the funds in the account should exempt the community facilities funds from that if they are not in the same account as the budget share.
Schools must not borrow money to fund a community service without the written consent of the Secretary of State (see section 3.7). 

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