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Academies FAQs on Serious Incident Reporting During Coronavirus

on Monday, 22 June 2020.

What do academies need to know about serious incident reporting during the coronavirus pandemic?

What Is a Serious Incident?

A serious incident is an event, actual or alleged, which results in or risks significant:

  • harm to beneficiaries (usually pupils for academy trusts), staff, volunteers or others who come into contact with your charity through its work
  • loss of your charity's money or assets
  • damage to property
  • harm to your charity's work or reputation.

Whose Responsibility Is It to Report Serious Incidents?

Ultimately, it is the trustees under the funding agreement who have the duty to comply with the Charity Commission's advice on reporting serious incidents to the ESFA. The trustees are, however, able to delegate functions to the Executive. As with all delegations, such delegation should be monitored and Executive decisions should be reported back to the trustees. When a report is made, it is made on behalf of the trustees and so the trustees should be involved in the reporting itself.

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Have the Types of Reportable Incidents Changed?

The Commission's latest guidance has clarified that actions take to comply with government rules are not in themselves reportable (ie having to close in accordance with government expectations/limit services) but the trustees might consider that the impact of such action is reportable. 

Whilst not an exhaustive list, the Commission has produced an examples table of what is and is not considered reportable. This includes:

  • outbreaks of coronavirus
  • the closure of school (other than in accordance with the Government's expectations)
  • the loss of a substantial proportion of income

For further reading, please see our separate article, 'Coronavirus - What Serious Incidents Should Academies Be Reporting to the ESFA?'

For advice on reporting serious incidents to the ESFA, please contact Chloe Brunton on 07920 281 889 or Jaime Hobday on 07467 220 552, or complete the form below.

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