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Asbestos in Schools

Parliamentary questions on insuring children against asbestos risks in schools

(Links are to Hansard)


 

School: Asbestos - 21 Mar 2012

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Education

(1) what level of funds his Department advise local authorities to hold in respect of asbestos-related claims made by former school staff and pupils; [100811]
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the availability of employer and public liability insurance for asbestos exposure risks in academies and free schools; [100812]
(3) what (a) arrangements his Department has made and (b) guidance his Department has issued for academies and free schools in respect of employer and public liability insurance cover for asbestos exposure risks to school staff, non-employees and pupils; [100813]
(4) how many local authorities are unable to obtain public liability insurance for asbestos exposure risks to visitors and pupils in their schools; [100814]
5) how many local authorities are unable to obtain employers' liability insurance for asbestos exposure risks to school staff; [100815]
(6) how many local authorities are self-insured for (a) employer and (b) public liability asbestos exposure risks to visitors and pupils. [100816]

Mr Gibb: Local authorities and schools are responsible for making their own arrangements for insurance. As such the Department does not maintain central records on insurance coverage in place.
No guidance has been issued to local authorities, academies or free schools in respect of insurance cover for asbestos exposure risks.
Discussions with insurers indicate that asbestos is not considered to be a barrier to obtaining employer liability insurance, though there is a general asbestos exclusion for public liability insurance.

 

Schools: Asbestos - 22 May 2012
 
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether an academy trust would be personally liable for an asbestos exposure claim against the academy. [108132]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 21 May 2012]:An academy trust is a corporate body so its members should not be held personally liable provided they act reasonably and in good faith. An academy trust acts as a single entity with an identity separate from that of its members. Responsibility for actions and decisions, therefore, lies with the whole academy trust rather than its individual members.
Academy trusts are required to have governor liability insurance with a minimum cover of several million pounds. This insurance covers the collective liability of the academy trust acting in good faith.

 

Schools: Mesothelioma - 12 June 2012

 

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what process will be followed in the event that a former pupil or non-employee from an academy or free school develops mesothelioma and makes a claim against the school; and who would be liable for any costs; [108133]
(2) whether pupils and non-employees are covered for public liability asbestos exposure risks in academies and free schools. [108134]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 21 May 2012]: Academies and free schools are autonomous institutions and, as such, are responsible for making their own arrangements for insurance. The Department does not maintain central records of the insurance coverage in place. Discussions with insurers have however indicated that there is a general asbestos exclusion for public liability insurance.
The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), is not legally responsible for any compensation awarded, and nor is he bound by the terms of the funding agreement to compensate an academy for any such liability. However, the Department for Education would work with any affected academy or free school to ensure that it remained financially secure and the education of its pupils was not compromised.