12 Mar What is the AMAP and what does it mean for governors?
Sarah Lyons’ role at the National Education Union (NEU) includes responsibility for all aspects of the Union’s national work on health and safety. She is a member of the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) and she works alongside all the other teaching and support staff unions to keep pupils and staff safe from the dangers by promoting effective asbestos management in schools. You can follow the JUAC on Twitter via @theJUAC or simply visit www.juac.org.uk.
If you’re in a governance role in a school or academy and are unfamiliar with how the issue of asbestos in schools might affect you, please ensure that you also read the other Modern Governor articles at the end of this page.
What is the Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP) – and what does it mean for governors?
The DfE is seeking assurances that schools are identifying and managing asbestos in schools. To this end, on 1 March 2018, it launched its Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP) which, via an online AMAP portal, requires ‘Responsible Bodies’ to provide an electronic declaration that their schools are compliant with legislation on the management of asbestos in their education estate. As the DfE states in this user guide, this is:
absolutely critical, as asbestos can be dangerous if not managed effectively and can cause terminal illnesses such as mesothelioma in later life.
What is meant by ‘Responsible Bodies’?
The DfE describes ‘Responsible Bodies’ as ‘the main employer of staff at state funded schools and academies’, which means ‘maintained nursery schools, maintained schools (including primary, secondary and middle schools) maintained special schools and academy special schools, pupil referral units, academies and free schools and non-maintained special schools.’ The AMAP does not apply to non-maintained nursery schools or early years providers, FE and HE institutions, sixth form colleges and independent schools.
What is the role of governing bodies?
Where a governing body is the employer, it will be the Responsible Body. Even where this is not the case, governing bodies still have duties as ‘persons in control of premises’ under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and will, therefore, need to play a part in the safe management of asbestos, of which compliance with this process forms part.
Will schools be inspected to ensure the accuracy of assurance declarations?
No, but Responsible Bodies are responsible for the accuracy of the information submitted.
Is the assurance process compulsory?
Although it is not described as compulsory, Responsible Bodies are ‘expected’ to comply. The DfE has said that where there are concerns resulting from any assurance declarations, the HSE may need to be involved.
What is the role of individual schools, for example within a local authority or academy trust?
Although it is the duty of each Responsible Body to ensure that the form is submitted on behalf of all its schools, it can ask individual schools to provide it with the relevant information. However, the Responsible Body remains ultimately responsible for validating and ensuring the accuracy of information submitted by individual schools, and for providing the overall assurance declaration to the DfE.
When is the deadline for submission of assurance declarations by Responsible Bodies?
The AMAP will be open for 3 months (the deadline for submitting assurances is Thursday 31 May 2018 at 12 noon). During this time the DfE will remind Responsible Bodies of the expectation that responses are submitted.
Will the findings be made public?
Yes, the DfE says that it intends to publish data showing which Responsible Bodies have provided assurance declarations so as to ‘provide assurance to members of the public’. Parents will understandably be concerned if the Responsible Body for their child’s school has failed to comply, and is missing from the list, whatever the reason might be.
How is the DfE communicating with schools about this process?
It’s communicating the launch of the assurance process widely through the department’s social media channels, local authority communications and ESFA communications, to get the message out to local authorities, schools and trusts:
Unfortunately, at the time of publication there are no recent tweets from @educationgovuk mentioning either asbestos or the AMAP.
Is there a contact at the DfE for queries about this?
If schools have any queries they should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The view of the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC)
“JUAC welcomes this initiative which should provide valuable data. The last exercise of this sort from the DfE resulted in only 25 per cent of schools responding. Although there are no inspections of schools, the process should provide some reassurance that Responsible Bodies are meeting their duties in relation to asbestos management.”
Further reading & resources from Modern Governor:
To understand what those involved in governance in schools and academies should know about asbestos, read this article from the JUAC:
To access the free e-learning module for those in governance on asbestos in schools, visit: