As we enter a recession, we have been here before, and a key question is what did we learn and how can we benefit from that learning?
- Check the status and structure of the school — maintained schools are owned and run by the local authority; ‘academies’ and ‘free schools’ are publicly funded, independent schools, which are owned and run by an academy trust.
- Who makes the decisions and who has authority to sign the documents — the local authority and the governing body make decisions on behalf of maintained schools (any contract is likely to be direct with the governing body under devolved powers), whereas the trustees make the decisions for academy trusts. Where a contract relates to an academy in a multi-academy trust (MAT), the contract must be entered into by the MAT as the constituent academies have no separate legal identity.
- Identify the relevant accountability framework — academies are accountable to the Secretary of State for Education, whereas maintained schools are accountable to local authorities. Academies, therefore, require Secretary of State approval for certain matters, which may delay your project or transaction. This should be discussed at the outset of the transaction/project.
- Experience of contracting— many schools have limited experience contracting with third parties. Maintained schools purchase many services from the local authority, this may affect the speed of any negotiations about a particular contact, especially if a school takes legal advice (which is encouraged).
- Understand any relevant procurement issues — both maintained schools and academies are ‘contracting authorities’ for the purposes of the regulations governing procurement. Therefore, with the exception of a limited number of exempt services, if the contract value exceeds certain financial thresholds, schools are obliged to comply with the procurement regulations.
- Clarify where the ownership of the school premises lies and any implications — many academies hold their sites on long leases from the local authority. There are controls on the disposal of publicly-funded academy land and also school land that was originally private but has been enhanced at public expense. These require the Secretary of State’s permission for its disposal. Approval may also be required for any changes or works to any such buildings.
For more information about the topics discussed, please contact Phil Watts.
It is anticipated that as lockdown restrictions ease, and particularly with children and young adults returning to education, cases of meningitis will start to rise.
As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
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