8. Darren Rice, Health and Safety Consultant from MAC Consulting

Reading Time: 2 minutes

On this episode of Developing the Trust, joining the dots in the academy sector, Tim Warneford is in Ampthill in Bedfordshire to speak to Darren Rice, Health and safety consultant from MAC consulting.


On this episode we cover:


What brought Darren to the academy sector

Darren’s previous experience in the public sector

Working as a building surveyor, maintaining schools for the LEA

The different between providing services to LEAs v MATs

How MATs transfer risks with them

Whether the LEA manages risk better than MATs

Schools not having to think about compliance and legal issues under a LEA

Contractors providing maintenance under LEAs

Admin staff promoted to facility managers without always having the experience

Helping support to staff to become property managers or building managers

Whether there is a gap between due diligence and schools transferring to MATs

People from education backgrounds struggling to adapt to facilities management

Providing health and safety management to transfer to a business model

Cases where LEAs have not addresses issues such as asbestos

Schools being previously unaware of the cost of managing such issues

Undertaking studies to address maintenance or facilities priorities

Several schools that went self-funding but had to return to the LEA due to financial difficulties

Working with solicitors to enable schools to understand what they are going into

Key to have an organisation of property building professionals to support schools

Understanding that maintaining a building can be challenging and expensive

The frustrations of auditing functioning trusts with different health and safety systems

The benefits of centralising and standardising

New property managers not fully understanding the role

Trusts learning to run a business and bring in business minded people

Schools having to be run life a business

Unsuccessful CIF bids leaving schools vulnerable

ESFA changing CIF weighting and seeking contributions from trusts

For trusts that are struggling the concern that they will be more vulnerable

Schools struggling to balance resources between teaching and statutory compliance

In LEAs the building always coming second

Some smaller schools losing out to secondary schools

Schools with serious compliance needs but no resources faced discrimination

Primary schools feeling more comfortable with LEAs

Secondary schools converting leaving less cross subsidies

Pupils possibly having to travel to go to school

Darren wanting forward-thinking schools to come to them to ask questions

Schools sometimes wanting to brush risks under the carpet rather than bring in the professionals

The importance of talking to other schools who have already converted and finding out what lessons have been learnt

The need for more business-savvy staffing

The impact Darren would like to have on the sector

The importance of sharing knowledge and information to benefit the schools