Risky business? Weigh up the costs and the benefits of the RPA

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The Academies Financial Handbook (AFH) provides that an academy must have adequate insurance cover in compliance with its legal obligations and funding agreement, or has opted into DfE’s risk protection arrangement.

Comprehensive insurance cover for buildings and contents, business continuity, employers’ and public liability insurance, cyber security and motor vehicles can quickly add up. To ensure you comply with your duties and remain in the black financially we want to highlight the Risk protection arrangement (RPA): guide for academies that was published by DfE a few weeks ago.

RPA benefits

Although the RPA is mentioned in the AFH, until now, many of its benefits and limitations may have been shrouded from public view. Accordingly we feel that it is important to parade some of its features to help your academy weigh up your insurance costs against the risks – to ultimately get the best value for your organisation.

Weighing up the cost, if you opt in to RPA, ESFA will deduct £20 per pupil per year from your general annual grant (GAG). If you are a special or AP academy, ESFA will deduct £20 per place per year from your GAG.

Weighing up the risks, to give you an idea, here is a description what is covered and what is not:


  • loss or damage to buildings, contents, computers owned by or the responsibility of the Academy
  • compensation for business interruption
  • employee liability
  • third party liability
  • governors liability
  • professional indemnity
  • employee and third-party dishonesty
  • loss of money while in transit elsewhere
  • personal accident coverage
  • UK travel cover
  • legal expenses cover


  • motor vehicles
  • overseas travel
  • works of art
  • engineering inspection and insurance


For more detail please see the following membership rules that are applicable to your circumstances:
Risk protection arrangement (RPA) for academy trusts; or
Membership rules for church academies and other academies with equivalent arrangements for occupying Trustees’ property

Private finance initiative (PFI) academy trusts might have to take out particular insurance as part of their PFI contract, however nothing prevents these academies from utilising the RPA for non-PFI risks.

For more information on how we can help your organisation, please call
Tony McPhillips on 0191 211 7908 or email [email protected].