TO: chief education officers, local education authority asset management contacts and dioceses
Direct Line: 020 7273 6151 Room No: Room 770 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Our Ref: LEA/0020/2005 28th January 2005
SCHOOLS ASSET MANAGEMENT 1. This letter explains a number of developments in how the Department will continue to support schools asset management. These are: the arrangements for transmitting suitability and condition data in Autumn 2005; the Schools Asset Management Data Analysis 2004 publication, which is enclosed with this letter; proposals for further energy and water data collection; details of asset management documentation and project information that are no longer to be supplied to the Department; the Department’s amended and updated curriculum analysis software.
Asset data collection arrangements 2005 2. As part of the plan rationalisation agenda, we are no longer requesting the submission of asset management plans. However, it is important that authorities continue to build on the good asset management planning processes that have been developed over recent years. This is essential if the current very high levels of capital funding for schools are to be prioritised in a rigorous, fair and transparent manner. Priorities need to be based on full surveys of the needs of all schools and be responsive to local priorities and government policy. Effective capital investment in schools - so that they are sufficient, suitable and in good repair for the learning and teaching needs of the 21st century - will underpin the objective of raising the standards of educational achievement.
Suitability and condition data 3. Can you please arrange for the supply of new suitability and condition assessment data during the period October to December 2005. Annexes A-C provide further information regarding assessments and the data collection arrangements. These data sets will inform formulaic allocations and future spending reviews. Through the provision of data analysis feedback and publications, we will as in previous years use the data as the bases for providing benchmarks and contextual information on the performance of the school building stock This will support managers’ asset management and investment prioritisation, providing them with a sense of how their schools property performs, year on year, in comparison with other authorities. Schools Asset Management Data Analysis 2004 publication 4. We recently published analysis of the asset management data collected last year and a copy of the publication is enclosed. The publication includes analysis of the first round of Net Capacity assessments. We hope that this analysis will help managers in benchmarking against other authorities and in augmenting their analysis of the data. 5. The analysis publication is in addition to the comprehensive analysis reports that we have supplied to your nominated asset management contact, following receipt of each data set. 6. We would welcome any comments on how well our analysis has supported the use of your data. Energy and water data 7. We propose, subject to Departmental approval and consultation with authorities, to ask for 2003-04 and 2004-05 energy and water data to be transmitted in a single data collection in Summer 2005. The data collection arrangements will be generally similar to previous energy and water data collection rounds. Our Analytical Services Division have completed analysis of the data for four previous years and have produced National Statistical Publications. These can be accessed via our website at www.teachernet.gov.uk/sdenergy from the Energy Management web page. Further details will be provided shortly. Asset management documentation and project information that are no longer to be supplied to the Department 8. With the ending of the requirement for authorities to submit asset management plans to the Department, we are no longer asking authorities to supply asset management documentation and project information. Therefore, Local Policy Statements, Statements of Priorities, and details of proposed projects should no longer be supplied.
9. We previously requested project performance indicators (PPIs) for selected projects. However, there are a number of initiatives currently under way to support the development of PPIs by authorities. Pending the outcomes of these initiatives, we are not seeking further PPI information. PPIs are important for the process of project review and to securing continuous improvement. We will review the need for guidance and consider whether we should in future invite authorities to supply PPI data. Curriculum analysis 10. The Department’s Curriculum Model for the assessment of secondary school accommodation requirements has been amended and updated to relate to Building Bulletin 98: Area Guidelines for Schools and is available at www.teachernet.gov.uk/curriculumanalysis . Queries 11. Any queries on this letter or its attachments should be directed to Nick Mayer, at email@example.com. DfES AMP website 13. The information contained in this letter is also available from the DfES AMP website at www.teachernet.gov.uk/amps .
[Mukund Patel] Head of Schools Capital (Assets)
Annex A – Suitability and condition data transmission arrangements
(Annex B provides details of amendments to asset management guidance Section 3, Condition Assessment. These are designed to afford greater flexibility to authorities.) (Annex C responds to some of the questions that have arisen with previous data collection rounds.) Updating of assessments Authorities are not expected to necessarily carry out complete reassessments, but the data should be reasonably up to date at the time of transmission. Scope of data The data should cover all schools, including those subject to PFI contracts. PFI projects outside BSF programme The data for schools with PFI contracts outside the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme should be adjusted to exclude suitability and condition needs to the extent that they are the responsibility of PFI contractors. In most cases, condition work will thus be totally excluded from the data, but not necessarily all suitability needs, particularly where they arise from schools’ changing circumstances during the course of PFI contracts. Please supply a list of PFI schools with the data submission. BSF schools The data for schools included in proposals for the first three waves of the Building Schools for the Future programme should be supplied for completeness. There is no need to make adjustments in respect of the anticipated projects. The needs of these schools will for a period be excluded from formulaic allocations. External area measurements We are not asking for site areas, playing field areas, team game areas, or swimming pools data to be supplied. Data transmission guidance We will shortly provide an update of our data transmission guidance, taking into account the guidance amendments referred to in Annex B.
Appraisal We will, as in previous data collection rounds, arrange for targeted appraisals of the data and the assessments from which are they are derived. The appraisals will look at the quality of the assessment processes and the accuracy of the data, including the overall accuracy of each authority’s data set.
Annex B - Amendments to asset management guidance Section 3, Condition Assessment (We will make these amendments in addition to those published in 2002. A consolidated set of amendments is available at www.teachernet.gov.uk/amps.) Paragraph 16 Replace paragraph with: “In the data that authorities supply to the DfES, they can choose either to supply costs for each major element of each block, or total costs for each block. Where costs for each major element are supplied, the major elements should be as listed in the table in Annex B. Sub-elements are shown in the table solely to define the scope of each major element. Where total costs are supplied, it is for authorities to determine an appropriate element classification system for use locally.” Annex A Following “For each element of each block”, add “, or for the totals of each block”. Show an alternative specimen data table for the option of supplying the total costs for each block, rather than costs for each element of each block. (The external works on each site are treated as separate “blocks”.)
Annex C – Premises assessments questions and answers SUITABILITY (References are to asset management guidance Section 4, Suitability Assessment, available at www.teachernet.gov.uk/amps) Q 1. Should authorities be involved in assessments? A. Authorities should take responsibility for assessments, providing guidance to schools, carrying out curriculum/space analysis, identification of health and safety issues and the moderation of assessments. However, schools should take ownership of assessments, with involvement in the identification of suitability problems and their impacts. Q 2. Should assessments be based on current or projected needs? A. The assessments from which the data transmitted to the Department are derived should be based on current needs; (Paragraph 21). Q 3. Should assessments be based on pupil numbers on roll, or on pupil capacities? A. The assessments from which the data transmitted to the Department are derived should be based on current numbers of pupils on roll. Q 4. The DfES has published new area guidelines: Building Bulletins 98 and 99. How should these be taken into account in assessments? A. For the identification of suitability problems (Paragraph 33), BB 98 and 99 provide benchmark guidance. However, the impacts of the problems (Paragraph 36) will depend on the effect on the school’s operations. For example, if a space is smaller than the area recommended in BB 98, a "size/shape" problem might be registered on the suitability survey form, but whether or not an entry is warranted in one of the summary assessment A-D columns would depend on whether there is, in practice, an impact on the curriculum, teaching methods, management, or morale of the users. Q 5. How should the schools for future agenda be taken into account in assessments? A. Schools and authorities will be seeking to raise standards, and assessments should take into account any premises improvements that might be currently needed. For example, if schools want to increase the ICT content of their curricula, but are being thwarted by a lack of accommodation, suitability assessments might show Category B impacts for the existing spaces, or shortfalls of spaces, that are inhibiting the ICT provision. Q 6. Should assessments take into account preferences of schools? A. There should be consistency of approach across schools, but assessments should take account of, for example, differing curriculum priorities.
Q 7. Is there a linkage between the categorisation of impacts and authorities’ priorities? A. Yes. The elimination of Category A direct impacts, or health and safety impacts Category H, for example, would be high spending priorities. Lack of progress in tackling such issues may indicate that they have not been treated as high priorities, possibly because the categorisation of impacts in assessments overstates the effects on the school’s operations. Q 8. Should Category A direct impacts relate only to shortfalls of teaching spaces? A. Not necessarily, but Category A impacts would be very unlikely to arise other than in relation to shortfalls of teaching spaces. Q 9. Do shortfalls of spaces always have impacts? A. Yes. If there are no impacts, there is no need for any more spaces and therefore no shortfall. The category of impact depends on effect of the shortfalls of spaces on the school. Q 10. Should the impacts of shortfalls be carried forward to the summary assessment A-D columns? A. Yes, in accordance with Paragraph 50. Q 11. Where spaces do not obviously match one of the summary assessment categories, which category should be used? A. Such spaces should be categorised according to authorities’ preferences. Subject to the following answer, the categorisation should be consistent across schools. Q 12. Can the space category descriptions in Rows 15-17 of the summary assessment form be different for each school? A. Yes. CONDITION (References are to asset management guidance Section 3, Condition Assessment, available at www.teachernet.gov.uk/amps.) Q 13. Is there a linkage between condition priorities and authorities’ priorities? A. Yes. The elimination of Priority 1 work, for example, would be a high priority. Lack of progress in tackling such work may indicate that it has not been treated as a high priority, possibly because the priorities of work in assessments are overstated. Q 14. Does the pricing adjustment data field relate to updating of costs? A. No. The pricing adjustment (Paragraph 33) is the total of preliminaries, contingencies and professional fees, as an average percentage of the balance of the costs.
Q 15. Is the survey pricing base date the month when the original condition survey was carried out? A. Not necessarily. If costs have been updated, the survey pricing base date (Page 13) should be the month up to which costs have been updated.