The Chief Finance Officer has the responsibility for ensuring that the Council is adequately protected by insurance. It is essential that the School Governing Body is adequately protected. Without insurance, Schools could find themselves in a position where they are exposing the School and the Council to potential liabilities which could have serious financial implications for Schools and the Council, e.g. a major fire or injury. In addition, individual teachers or Governors may unwittingly open themselves to the possibility of being sued personally. The Chief Finance Officer can determine the minimum levels of insurance cover for Schools. The Minimum Requirement will be based on the cover currently provided by the LA, or such amounts that the Chief Finance Officer reasonably determines due to changes in the nature of the risk. Schools will not be allowed to place their insurance cover elsewhere unless they can demonstrate that these meet the Minimum Requirements.
When considering the options open to them Governing Bodies should make their decision bearing in mind their own individual circumstances and ensure that they are clear as to the extent of cover and other services included within each option.
In the event of the School deciding not to take advantage of the Council’s Insurance Service, the School must demonstrate that it has arranged cover to as good a standard as that which would have been arranged by the LA.
Schools making their own alternative insurance arrangements must produce evidence of such insurance to the Chief Finance Officer following inception and each subsequent annual renewal. The evidence required to demonstrate parity of cover should be reasonable, not place an undue burden upon the school, nor act as a barrier to the school exercising their choice of supplier.
An Authorised Insurer (i.e. a company that is licensed to undertake the appropriate insurance business in the United Kingdom) must provide any insurance cover. It must also meet the requirements of the Council’s insurance advisor’s security board.
If the alternative insurance does not meet the minimum specification, the Council will have the right to take out the necessary insurance cover on behalf of the School and charge the premium to the School delegated budget.
Details of the insurance cover required for Reading schools (available as a buy-back) is updated annually in the School Insurance Guide which is published on the Reading SLA portal, also available on request from the Chief Finance Officer.
Instead of taking out insurance, a school may join the Secretary of State’s Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) for risks that are covered by the RPA. Schools may join the RPA after 1st April 2020. Schools may do this individually when any insurance contract of which they are part expires. All primary and/or secondary maintained schools may join the RPA collectively by agreeing through the Schools Forum to de-delegate funding.