Last week the Department for Education reopened its ‘Asbestos Management Assurance Process’, an exercise which asks school employers to declare whether they are compliant with their legal duty to manage asbestos in their schools.
Delays to the project, largely due to it not being mandatory, mean that the findings, now not due until Spring 2019, may come too late to properly influence next year’s comprehensive spending review. Schools Minister Nick Gibb has stated that 68% of the 17,000 schools that have taken part in the survey were deemed to be compliant with their legal duties. This means that responsible bodies have only provided assurances on around 11,500 schools – approximately half of all schools in England – despite the survey deadline already having been extended twice last summer, and now for a third time until February 2019.
Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said: “This is totally unacceptable. We already know that nearly 90% of schools contain asbestos and that as asbestos ages, it deteriorates and becomes more difficult to manage. There is already plenty of evidence about poor standards of asbestos management across many local authorities and academy trusts. What we urgently need is earmarked funding to make our schools safe from this scourge.”
The above is part of a NEU release, the full release is available at https://neu.org.uk/latest/delays-governments-asbestos-management-assurance-process