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Asbestos in Schools

Parliamentary Questions

to establish current Government policy on inspecting the standards of asbestos management in schools

 


In order to establish current Government policy on inspecting the standards of asbestos management in schools Annette Brooke MP has asked a series of Parliamentary questions. The latest answer from the DfE Minister on 21st July states that it is not in Ofsted’s remit to inspect standards of asbestos management, as the responsibility’s is the HSE’s. A previous answer from the DWP Minister on 16th July states that the HSE has no specific system in place to inspect the standards of asbestos management in schools. HSE informed the DfE Asbestos Steering Group that Local Authorities are not allowed to inspect the standards of asbestos management in schools under their own control or outside their control.

Comment: This is further confirmation that there is no system in place to assess the standards of asbestos management in schools.
As schools are expected to manage their asbestos this is an unacceptable situation and AiS have asked for the matter to be included in the agenda of the DfE Asbestos Steering Group meeting on 29th July.

Questions are below:

21 July 2014 : Column 929W  Schools: Asbestos
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether it is in the remit of Ofsted to investigate pupils’ safety from asbestos in school buildings when it inspects schools; and if she will make a statement. [205782]
Mr Laws: It is not in Ofsted’s remit to assess asbestos management in schools. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the lead regulator on managing asbestos.

16 July 2014 : Column 718W Schools: Asbestos
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2014, Official Report, column 112W, on Schools: Asbestos, what system is in place to inspect schools under (a) local authority control and (b) outside local authority control, to assess their standard of asbestos management. [205442]
Mr Harper: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has no specific system in place to inspect schools to assess their standard of asbestos management.
HSE's work planning systems focuses its inspection priorities on the major hazard industries and comparatively high risks sectors (such as construction, waste and recycling, and some types of manufacturing), but can also involve targeted initiatives elsewhere. In recent years this approach has resulted in discrete inspection programmes to assess asbestos management by:
local authorities with responsibility for system built schools; and schools outside local authority control on a sample basis.

7 July 2014 : Column 112W  Schools: Asbestos
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to monitor the standards of asbestos management in schools (a) under and (b) outside of local authority control. [203583]
Mike Penning: The Health and Safety Executive continues to be a member of the Asbestos in Schools Steering Group which aim to promote the effective management of asbestos in both local authority and non-local authority controlled schools. The steering group has representatives from the joint Union Asbestos Committee, education trade unions, local authorities and independent schools.
In June 2014, HSE published the results of its latest inspection survey into the management of asbestos in schools covering those outside local authority control. This survey showed improved levels of awareness and a decrease in the level of enforcement action required in comparison with a survey of the same sector in 2010-11. HSE also completed a similar inspection exercise in 2010 on local authority controlled schools.