The first thing to do when developing an asset management system for a school or academy is to define an asset management policy. This will outline what the asset register will contain and who is responsible for maintaining and managing it. It ensures that every member of staff knows who’s responsible for what and the processes involved in asset management.
If you’re unsure what to include in your school asset management policy, read on.
Start your policy with an introduction which summarises the purpose of the policy and states what will be included in the document. Explain the benefits of following the procedures set out in the document too. This section only needs to be a couple of sentences long.
Roles and responsibilities
In this section, you need to make clear who has responsibilities when it comes to asset management. Define who has overall responsibility (e.g. the governing body) and who is in charge of day to day operations (e.g. the business manager). Departmental managers may have their own obligations, for example the head of IT may be trusted with managing all electronics.
Essentially, it’s a good way to get everyone’s asset management roles down so that if a task is not carried out, it’s easy to check who should have done it.
Here you should describe what the register contains in terms of actual items and details. Many schools only choose to include assets worth over a certain amount of money, as otherwise creating and managing a register would take far too long. It’s best not to set the minimum amount an asset should be worth to be included in the register too high, otherwise it makes it far too easy for valuable items to go missing without the school knowing.
You also need to state the people who have access to the register. If it’s likely to change regularly, you don’t have to include the names of certain members of staff; just say ‘the business manager and designated members of staff’.
You’ll want to note who is responsible for carrying out the annual asset check here, too. This is usually the business manager or governing body, but if this duty is designated to someone else, be sure to state that.
Do you allow your school property to be signed out? Can, for example, students take a tablet computer home with them? If so, it’s wise to outline the process for your signing out procedure.
Disposal of equipment guidelines
It’s inevitable that over time your school will need to get rid of perfectly functional but outdated assets. There should be guidelines in place for this process, and these need to be outlined in this section.
First of all, state what happens to assets when they are disposed of. Are they sold at auction or donated to charity? Does each disposal need to be approved by another body before sale?
It’s important to keep a list of disposed items, as well as those still being used by the school. The policy should say who is responsible for up-keeping this list. Does anyone, such as a financial committee, need to see the list on a regular basis?
You should also state where the net income from every sale will go –oftentimes it will just go directly back into the school fund, but this may change in certain situations.
Hopefully, none of your assets will ever go missing, but unfortunately it’s more than likely that some of them will. This is why it’s vital to note what action should be taken if a loss takes place, whether big or small.
Major losses such as those caused by a fire or burglary should be reported to the police and your school’s insurance company, although you may choose to take other actions for small discrepancies.
For example, if you noted that a couple of computers were missing during the annual audit, you wouldn’t necessarily want to involve the police or your insurance firm straight away. You may investigate it first and notify the governing body instead. This is why you need to outline the different actions that should be taken according to the type of loss.
Asset management policies are important for informing everyone what their roles are, what equipment is recorded and what will be done if items are sold or lost. It does not need to be the most detailed or complicated document in the world, but it is required.
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