Implementing effective asset management and compliance processes will evidence a proactive attitude to risk management, reduce the likelihood of incidents and will enable organisations to better defend claims should they arise.
Government initiative, Health and Safety Executive (HSE), states that: "the health, safety and well-being of staff, pupils and visitors whilst on educational premises is a fundamental statutory requirement", therefore ensuring the estates, assets and everything within a school is properly managed and fully compliant, will help to provide a safe environment for everyone.
Why is compliance and asset management so important?
Because non-compliance is a SERIOUS issue.
Instances of non-compliance which are associated with school assets, buildings or maintenance can actually result in insurance claims, legal proceedings or even court appearances (in extreme cases). Therefore there is a very real requirement for quality asset management processes and ensuring the proactive management of statutory compliance data.
If an incident does occur, then there will usually be an inspection by HSE, an insurance company and sometimes even the Police, depending on the severity of the situation. Therefore the party responsible for Health and Safety in the school will be subject to the consequences, should a case of non-compliance be found.
Because audits happen.
Schools are regularly subject to audits by HSE and Local Authorities relating to the testing of school plant and equipment. These audits (which can be anything up to a 30 point checklist) are designed to ensure that schools arrange for the testing, monitoring or inspection (at the appropriate frequency), of various items of plant and equipment.
These audits could include tests on things such as;
- Portable Electrical Appliance Testing
- Gas Boilers
- Passenger Lifts
- Fire Risk Assessment
- Emergency Lighting
- Glass and Glazing Assessment
- Air Conditioning
- Dust / Fume Extraction
...to name but a few.
The important thing to note is that these checks are not optional and failure to comply will contravene Health and Safety legislation (and associated rules and regulations) and may result in a fine or even imprisonment of the offender. It may even invalidate building insurance cover.
Because there's more to manage than you think.
Managing compliance and assets within a school may not seem difficult on the face of it, but when you start to think about the make up of a school then the scale of what needs managing becomes a lot clearer. Any date related documentation needs to be properly stored and managed, such as:
- Repairs - machinery, buildings, plant and equipment, vehicles
- Maintenance - grounds, buildings, machinery, vehicles
- Servicing - vehicles, equipment, boilers, machinery
- Buildings - insurances, safety
- Estates - insurances, safety
- Compliance (HSE & Local Authority Regulations) - everything
- Policies and Procedures - insurances, internet, telephone, utilities
- Leases and Licences - software, photocopiers, rent, let agreements
- Cases of Asbestos
- and more..
Did you know schools even need to ensure that any external contractors coming onto the site have all the relevant Health & Safety certificates and background checks (CRB, DBS)? So even this type of information needs to be readily available if requested.
The sheer amount of work involved in properly managing a school is
something most business, facilities or estates managers will know full
well, but not all will know the best ways to reduce the headaches
involved in doing so. Using a software solution to centrally manage all of the above is the easiest way to ensure everything is compliant, valid, up to date and in order.
So, who is responsible for Health and Safety?
By law, accountability for Health and Safety within a school lies with the 'employer', but to confuse matters, who the employer is can vary depending on the type of school and where the school is located. This table from the HSE website helps to clarify this:
So its in the best interest of the employer to make sure they're proactively managing compliance and assets. Firstly to make sure prevantative measures are being taken to AVOID incidents, and secondly to make sure that if any incidents do occur, the school can prove full compliance and ensure they're covered to avoid claims.
It's important to note that although the school employer is legally accountable for staff and pupil health and safety, other school managers who are involved in the day to day management of the school also have some responsiblity. The HSE website outlines this in further detail.
The Solution - Compliance and Asset Management Software
With the frequency and intensity of audits on the rise, increased pressure from governors and new legislated documentation, Health and Safety within schools is being scrutinised more than ever. This means the need for proper compliance and asset management processes is extremely important. Schools need to show their commitment to good asset management standards, such as PAS 55 for example.
To do this, schools should now be looking closely at an online solution such as Sypro Compliance and Asset Manager (CAM) to deal with their compliance and asset management requirements - allowing everything to be managed from one centralised location, accessible online from any internet enabled device.
This type of system can be extremely beneficial for educational organisations. An organisation who proactively manages their assets and compliance from one central location will be far less vulnerable if any incidents ever occur. But what are the benefits of compliance and asset management systems?
Cost Savings and Better Budgeting
If a school has no way of properly managing their assets, then they'll often be unaware of what (and how much) specific equipment they have available, so they can be in danger of buying too much unnecessarily. A software solution such as Sypro CAM helps to monitor costs and expenditure on assets and also increase asset life cycle which has financial and operational benefit.
For some, accounting practices have changed dramatically in recent years too. With an increasing number of schools turning into academies, there is a requirement for them to be run like a business with a balance sheet, therefore they are now required to accurately know the total value of assets. Something schools have historically found costly and time consuming.
With an online asset management solution in place, time and cost worries are greatly reduced as is the margin for error associated with outdated or non-integrated approaches
Single Source Location
Centrally manage everything in one single source location:
- Compliance (HSE & Local Authority Regulations)
- Policies and Procedures
- Leases and Licences
- Cases of Asbestos
With the increasing number of policies, leases and licenses that are required within a school, it's easy to imagine the nightmare that is involved in making sure they are all up to date and valid. Sypro CAM enables real time task management - reducing the reliance on paper based methods which can be highly inefficient.
As part of a proper management process for policies and procedures, a school will often use a software system to to centrally manage policies, procedures, leases and licenses.
Every school should be prepared for the worst. Flooding, fires, theft and other incidents can all cause massive disruption to property and if physical documentation isn't stored correctly it may get destroyed - and subsequent insurance claims will be almost impossible to make without valid documentation. A software solution such as Sypro CAM enables the user to produce a complete audit trail of asset history of maintenance, should this ever be required.
Using a software system to centrally manage information will ensure that if disaster does strike, then school data won't be lost and can still be used to back up any claims that need to be made.
Helpdesk and Reactive Maintenance Modules
‘Helpdesk’ and ‘Reactive Maintenance Modules’ can help to centrally manage reactive maintenance issues. ‘Helpdesk’ modules linked directly to a software solution can be used for reactive maintenance or defect issues, both general issues and those linked to individual assets.
Using a software solution will enable the user to log issues anywhere on site from an internet enabled devices and track these issues with live status reporting.
Reporting and Notifications
Enabling the user to extract important information from the interface will ensure that key performance indicators can be tracked and detailed reporting can be carried out. For example, contractor works information can be stored and referenced, to ensure that time, cost and quality of works can be monitored in line with original agreements.
Using a simple graphical based approach to display this information enables the user to clearly identify specific activity, issues or notifications.
A system like Sypro CAM sends alerts when tasks are created and the recipients these alerts can be selected (contractors, on site staff). To ensure timely actions are taken, when tasks (i.e. leases, policies, maintenance etc) are forthcoming, due or overdue the users will be notified.
Job tickets are created when a task is assigned to a user and these will stay open until the another person 'closes' the job in the system. Emails can also be escalated to supervisors if jobs aren't done on time.
A system that centrally manages all of this information will ensure that if the person who is responsible day to day is absent, then the information is readily available for reference - therefore giving reassurance and peace of mind.
The Sypro CAM system provides instant access to a complete list of assets, their history, planned maintenance schedules, warranties, renewals and depreciation. CAM will assist your organisation in maintaining the value of the estate, providing a singular source of live estate data for those responsible, therefore optimising and extending the economic life of the property and its assets.