The procedure to be followed by the governors of aided schools in carrying out capital building work
The written approval of the DBE is required for any capital work in aided schools.
The governing body is responsible for building work at the school and VAT must be paid (and not reclaimed) on all such work
This work is much more complex than building work in homes. There is a range of other regulations to which schools need to adhere, and which have cost or bureaucratic constraints. This includes the Building Regulations 2010, the Equality Act 2010, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Workplace Regulations 1992, as well as other regulations covering electricity, gas and fire safety, water supply and food hygiene. In addition to the regulations that schools need to meet, there are more than 40 different Department guidance documents. As well as Building Bulletins 98 and 99, which provide the area guidelines for secondary and primary schools respectively, there are four bulletins which provide guidance on statutory requirements (ventilation, fire safety, fume cupboards, and acoustics) and a further nine bulletins providing guidance on areas such as music or design.
It is also administratively intensive and can cause serious cash flow problems.
The procedure in this guidance is to be followed by governors in carrying out capital building work when utilising DBE support. Providing these guidelines are followed, professional consultants and DBE officers undertake many of the tasks associated with capital premises related work on behalf of governors: bills are paid from DBE funds and grant claimed or used on behalf of the governing body; governing bodies, with prior approval of DBE, may defer their payments, although we do expect governors to repay their portion of the costs as soon as possible. Governors should always discuss any problems they are facing with the Diocesan Director of Education.
Work which is revenue and not capital (see sections 2 and 3) is funded entirely from the school's delegated Budget provided by the Local Authority (LA). Schools are recommended to keep track of their grant-aidable work (other than DFC) using the VASIS system (See Appendix 5, Keeping track of expenditure).
- Have the written approval of the DBE before undertaking any capital work. If required, work cannot proceed until a Health and Safety letter has been received at the DBE office;
- Write to the DBE office as soon as work is contemplated, but prior consultation by the governors or consultant acting on their behalf is usually most helpful. The consultant should apply on the form Capital/Bid (see section 6.4) for work in the following year which the school cannot fund from its DFC;
- Unless the work is entirely funded from DFC, the prior approval of the EFA is also required (this is obtained through the DBE office) for any LCVAP or other grant-aidable work. In case of an emergency contact the DBE office immediately;
- Ensure that anyone undertaking building work in schools has adequate and appropriate professional indemnity insurance. All DBE-approved contractors have this.
- Negotiates on behalf of governors to secure grant;
- Acts for the governors paying all bills and securing grant on their behalf;
- Holds the school's devolved formula capital and completes the EFA year-end assurance form;
- Oversees the work of the school's consultant;
- Provides legal advice on all matters of Education Law relating to school buildings and land.
Work begun without
- The approval of the EFA may lead to grant being withheld. Governors would be liable for the whole cost
- The approval of the DBE or against the advice of the Board’s officers would leave governors responsible for the payment of all bills. Such work would contravene the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1991
The appropriate health and safety conditions could lead to the governors facing action by the Health and Safety Executive.
This introduction is all most governors will need to read. It can also be downloaded by clicking here. The appendices are largely for the use of consultants but can be downloaded. All files are in Word 2010 format.
Contents of this section:
1(a) The DBE Role
Appendix 2: Information for Consultants
2(a) Statutory and Best Practice Criteria
2(b) The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM)
2(c) Asbestos checks
2(d) Sustainable school buildings
2(e) Design quality indicator (DQI) for schools
Appendix 3: Capital Expenditure
Appendix 4: Insurance
Appendix 5: EFA Grants
Appendix 6: Buildings Forms available to download
The Governing body is responsible for the school buildings.
There is a range of regulations to which schools need to adhere, and which have cost or bureaucratic constraints. This includes the Building Regulations 2010, the Equality Act 2010, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Workplace Regulations 1992, as well as other regulations covering electricity, gas and fire safety, water supply and food hygiene. In addition to the regulations that schools need to meet, there are more than 40 different Department guidance documents. As well as Building Bulletins 98 and 99, which provide the area guidelines for secondary and primary schools respectively, there are four bulletins which provide guidance on statutory requirements (ventilation, fire safety, fume cupboards, and acoustics) and a further nine bulletins providing guidance on areas such as music or design. Appendices 2, 2(a) to 2(e) give an indication of the complexity involved.
The DBE has a duty to ensure all regulations are met and appropriate procedures followed.
It is illegal for capital building work to be undertaken unless the DBE has approved the work (Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1991).
Each school needs appropriate professional advice to guarantee compliance with regulations and to ensure that the best building solution is achieved. This advice is provided by a consultant, selected by the governors and approved by the DBE. Their work is monitored by an independent technical adviser working with the DBE. Apart from unforeseen repair work, building work should form part of a building development plan produced with the agreement of the governors by the school’s building consultant.
The role of the consultant is explained in Appendix 1.
Most of the work explained in this section is undertaken by either the school’s building consultant or DBE officers. However, the consultant’s role is to advise; it is for governors to make decisions. At every stage, the governors must be informed by the consultant.
The funding of such work comes from several sources depending on the type of work. Some (revenue work) is funded directly from the school’s delegated budget from the LA, some (capital work) receives grant of up to 90% from the EFA (with the governors finding the other 10%) (See Section 4 and Appendix 5), some may be funded from other sources (such as special Government or Local Authority (LA) initiatives) and some must be paid for entirely by the governing body (such as areas entirely for Church use).
All revenue work is LA liability and the funding is normally delegated through the school’s budget. Such work does not attract grant and schools should arrange such work and payment in accordance with their LA’s guidelines, without reference to the DBE office. Revenue work is any work which is under £2,000 or is not capital work.
The definition of capital work is deliberately vague (see Appendix 3), enabling governing bodies in many smaller projects to decide whether they wish to class work as capital and obtain 90% grant, or as revenue and fund it entirely from their school budget. Since governing bodies may use money from their delegated budget towards their 10% payment, it is often beneficial, where possible, to class work as capital when capital funds are available.
All capital expenditure requires the approval of the DBE.
Funding for capital work comes from a variety of grants from the EFA, the major ones being:
DEVOLVED FORMULA CAPITAL (DFC)
Each year the school receives a Formula Capital allocation based on a lump sum plus an amount per pupil. This allocation shows the amount which can be spent on small scale capital work or as a contribution towards a larger project. The EFA grant 90% of this amount and governors must provide 10% of the cost. The money can be rolled forward for three years, but any money not spent after three years will be lost. The DBE holds schools’ DFC on their behalf and schools are advised by email of the amount that has been received and the balance held. Whenever a project is approved, schools are advised of the DFC balance remaining. If information is required at other times, please email Sandra Jones.
All schools have agreed to pool their DFC. This enables us, in approved cases, to allow schools to expend money from their allocation for the following year.
At the financial year end, a declaration is required by the EFA about DFC spending. DBE officers undertake the administration of this.
LCVAP (LA Co-ordinated Voluntary Aided Programme)
Larger projects are usually funded by this grant which is co-ordinated by the LA. Officers of the DBE negotiate with the LA and other diocesan colleagues (including the RC dioceses) in order to receive allocation for projects.
Schools apply for this grant using form Capital/Bid which consultants are reminded to download in January each year from the DBE website. This must be returned by Easter for work which schools would like to begin in the following year. The bids always exceed the finance available and consequently not all bids are successful. The Asset Management Plan is used to demonstrate the priority of the work and the bid should refer to the school’s building development plan agreed with the governors and their consultant. Normally schools are expected to contribute from their DFC allocation towards these projects. Schools are notified of the outcome of bids usually by February or March prior to the work commencing. The money must be claimed in the year it is allocated (often projects overlap two years).
Schools will be advised when the Government makes any announcement about other grants. See Appendix 5 for other grants.
There are a number of ways in which governors can finance their contribution towards building work. Governors should have their own account separate from the school’s various accounts. The governors’ contribution can be paid from the following sources:
Money from the school’s delegated budget can be used to finance the 10% contribution towards capital work.
Profit from Lettings
Money made from any lettings belongs to the governing body. All expenses such as heating, lighting and caretaking must be reimbursed to the school’s delegated budget, and any profit then paid into the governors’ account.
Money raising events
Many schools hold events at which money is raised in order to help finance building work. This may be particularly effective when parents can see the plans for a new scheme. Some schools ask for donations from parents or outside bodies towards building work. All Church Schools are Exempt Charities and as such are eligible for income tax refunds on money given through Gift-Aid. Further advice is available from the DBE office.
Some schools are in the fortunate position where their P.C.C. supports them financially. Some arrange to give a per capita amount for each child in the school. However, in the current financial climate for the Church, this method may become increasingly difficult.
Some schools are supported by local trusts that may finance building projects to some extent. Governors should always check with Charity Trustees before committing themselves to building work. Some schools have individual trusts based on a school house that was originally provided for the use of the headteacher. Care should be taken in dealing with such property as it will probably be held on an educational trust and may need an Order of the Charity Commissioners before the assets are used for the school. These houses if sold must be sold at a full market price and if rented this must also be at a full market rental. Trustees of such property should always contact the Diocesan Director prior to any sale or letting. Legal advice is essential to prevent problems. As with all educational trusts, the DBE must be consulted about any change.
If governors are unable to finance the 10% contribution immediately, they should consult DBE officers before the project is approved. The DBE may be able to defer the payment in approved cases. On rare occasions, the DBE may agree to the payment of a grant to governors. Application should be made on the Grant Application form downloadable here.
All Church school foundations are exempt charities and as such can receive tax benefits through Gift-Aid. Contact the DBE office for further information.
- The procedure to be undertaken depends on the category and cost of the work (see sections 6.3 and 6.4).
- All projects are either Category 2 or Category 3.
- For approved work, governors receive a grant of 90% towards the cost, including any fees and VAT.
- Each year the school is allocated a devolved formula capital (DFC) provision. This money is held on behalf of the school by the DBE. See section 6.3 for more details.
- Capital work that cannot be afforded entirely from DFC must be submitted as a bid to the DBE on form Capital/Bid that is sent to the school and their consultants annually and can be downloaded here. This form must be completed by the school’s consultant and certified by the governing body.
- Prior to undertaking any work, governors should ensure that it is their responsibility (see section 7). Work related to playing fields or buildings on them is the responsibility of the LA. DBE officers will be pleased to offer advice.
- Governors must adhere to the cost bands otherwise the EFA will withhold grant. Governors could then find themselves liable for the entire cost of the project.
- Work cannot start on site until full EFA approval is given (but see 6.3 below for DFC only projects). Governors could be personally liable for any work undertaken without full approval.
Before certain classes of work can be undertaken, public notices must be published and the approval of the LA, Adjudicator or Secretary of State received. This is a separate approval from that necessary prior to the work commencing and governors should be aware that the process takes several months. Such approval is required for:
- the establishment of a new school;
- a significant change in character of a school (e.g. a junior school becoming a primary school);
- the establishment of a nursery at a school;
- a significant enlargement of a school (i.e. more than 25%).
A Transfer Order is required when a school moves to a new site.
To obtain approval for ICT only projects where there is NO structural work
Form DFCICT/Approval (which can be downloaded from here) should be submitted to the DBE office with supporting documentation.
- Governors must ensure there are adequate funds remaining in the DFC allocation. Requests to bring forward money from a future year should be made by email to Sandra Jones or in writing to the DBE office.
- Projects will not be approved unless certified by the governing body.
- When a project is approved to proceed, consultants and headteachers will be notified by email and this will include a project number.
- Once approval is received from the DBE, the project may commence.
- Invoices and fee notes should be sent to the DBE office for payment.
If costs are more than projected on DFCICT /Approval, a new submission must be made.
When the project is completed, Form DFC/Final must be completed and returned to the DBE office.
To obtain approval for other DFC only projects
Form DFC/Approval (which can be downloaded from here) should be submitted to the DBE office with supporting documentation. Governors should ensure they have completed section 8 of this form.
- Projects will not be approved unless submitted by the school’s consultant (and will be subject to the payment of fees) and certified by the governing body.
- Governors and consultants must ensure there are adequate funds remaining in their DFC allocation. Requests to bring forward money from a future year should be made by email to Sandra Jones or in writing to the DBE office.
- When a project is approved to proceed, consultants and headteachers will be notified by email and this will include a project number.
- When the project is finalised, Form DFC/Final must be completed and returned to the DBE office via the consultant.
6.4 Projects requiring EFA grant from other sources (See Appendix 5)
Other projects are either Category 2 or Category 3 depending on the value of the project (see below). For each of these, the following procedure is undertaken:
- Forms will not be processed unless submitted by an approved consultant.
- Governors must ensure there are adequate funds remaining in their DFC allocation for the part being funded from that source. It is expected that governors will use part of this allocation to help fund the project.
- Bids for work must be made on form Capital/Bid which can be downloaded from here. Failure to complete the form fully will hold up any submission. It is advisable to discuss such projects with DBE officers prior to such submissions.
- Once funding has been allocated a submission should be made to the EFA and the procedure in Appendix 2 followed. Forms Approval and VADBE Approval should be fully completed and returned to the DBE office via the consultant. Governors should ensure they have completed section 3 of Form VADBE Approval.
- When a project is approved to proceed, consultants and headteachers will be notified by email and this will include a project number. When the project is finalised, Form APGC.FC must be completed and returned to the DBE office.
Capital projects with a total value of building work up to £499,999 (excluding fees and VAT) for primary schools or £999,999 (excluding fees and VAT) for secondary schools
- For projects funded entirely from DFC, see section 6.3.
- Bids for work must be submitted by the school’s consultant to the DBE office on form Capital/Bid by Easter for work in the following year.
- Grant for these projects comes from the LA Co-ordinated Voluntary Aided Programme (LCVAP) (See Appendix 5). DBE officers negotiate on behalf of governors for these grants. The bids always exceed the finance available and consequently not all bids are successful. The Asset Management Plan is used to demonstrate the priority of the work. The work should normally be part of the school’s building development plan.
- Schools are notified of the outcome of bids usually by February or March prior to the work commencing.
If the bid is successful, the process which is followed by the consultant can be seen in Appendix 2.
Capital projects with a total value of building work of £500,000 (excluding fees and VAT) and above for primary schools or £1,000,000 (excluding fees and VAT) and above for secondary schools
- Bids for work must be submitted by the school’s consultant to the DBE office by Easter for work in the following year.
- The work should normally be part of the school’s building development plan.
i) LCVAP Projects
- DBE officers negotiate on behalf of governors for grant from the LA Co-ordinated Voluntary Aided Programme (LCVAP) (See Appendix 5). Bids always exceed the finance available and consequently not all bids are successful. The Asset Management Plan is used to demonstrate the priority of the work.
- Schools are notified of the outcome of bids usually in February or March prior to the work commencing.
ii) Other projects
- If funding is sought other grant streams (See Appendix 5), early discussions with DBE officers are vital for these bids.
- The process which is followed by the consultant can be seen in Appendix 2.
The governors are responsible for:
- The existing buildings (internal and external) including kitchens, dining areas, medical/dental rooms, swimming pools, caretakers’ dwelling houses;
- perimeter walls and fences, even if they are around the playing fields;
- furniture, fixtures and fittings – including initial provision of ICT hardware and other equipment (see Appendix 5 for more details);
- other capital items (which can include boiler replacements and replacement of services).
LAs are responsible for:
- any revenue items (including repairs to any equipment)
- playing fields (including sports pitches and hard surfaced games areas);
- buildings on those fields and related to their use.
If buildings are provided solely for parochial use, then no grant is payable for either their provision or maintenance. Governors should ensure that they are entirely funded by the parish. Teacher’s houses, unless they have been adopted for school use, are the responsibility of the trustees. For further advice contact DBE officers.
- If remedial work is found to be necessary either during a project or prior to the final settling of accounts, then it should be carried out at either the contractor’s or consultant’s expense.
- In other situations, consideration will need to be given as to whether there are grounds to pursue a claim against those responsible and governors should seek legal or technical advice as necessary. The advice of DBE officers should be sought. Delay in commencing proceedings can result in a claim failing due to the expiry of the statutory limitation period. Cases should only be pursued where there is a reasonable prospect of success.
- The cost of meeting professional fees in pursuing a legal remedy should normally be met from governors’ insurance. The Secretary of State may consider paying grant on costs when insurance cover is exhausted. Each case is considered on its merits.
Grant may not be paid if governors have repaired faulty work at their own expense when a claim should have been pursued. Use of a different contractor to repair faulty work will invalidate any guarantee of the previous contractor.