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School reopening: guidance on hiring out your premises
Find out what you need to think about and do to restart your lettings during coronavirus.
When can we restart lettings?
You can restart as soon as you're able to, as long as your lettings are in line with government guidance, including on:
- Specific activities (see list below)
- Social distancing (e.g. the number of people allowed to gather in an indoor space)
- Local lockdowns
Carry out a coronavirus risk assessment
For each of your lettings, you or the hirer (whoever's responsible for the activity of the letting), will need to carry out a coronavirus risk assessment for the particular activity to determine if it can be safely run.
If you're responsible for completing the risk assessment, see this government guidance for out-of-school provision to help you carry it out, alongside the relevant guidance for each activity:
- Outdoor sport
- Indoor sport
- Team sports (use this in addition to the relevant outdoor/indoor sport guidance)
- Performing arts
If the hirer is responsible for completing the risk assessment, you can ask them for a copy of it to make sure they've assessed all the relevant risks.
Update your lettings policy and agreements
Our legal partners, Forbes Solicitors, and our associate health and safety expert, Justin Smith, gave us the advice in this section.
You'll need to review your lettings policy and procedures to make sure they're in line with government coronavirus guidance.
Determine who's responsible for implementing protective measures
Your current lettings policy and agreements will cover broad responsibilities for areas such as health and safety, but this doesn't specify whose responsibility it's to implement coronavirus protective measures.
You'll therefore need to decide who (you or the hirer) will be responsible for specific measures such as:
- Cleaning the facilities and equipment
- Hygiene measures, such as providing hand sanitiser and signage to remind people of hand washing and social distancing
To determine this, you'll need to take into account:
- The risk assessment for the letting (see section above), and who you feel comfortable allocating responsibilities such as cleaning to
- Any relevant contracts that might be affected (such as cleaning contracts)
Adapt your existing arrangements
You'll also likely need to adapt other areas of your policy to take account of coronavirus, such as:
- Cancellations and refunds - decide under which specific circumstances you'd agree to cancel a hire and give a refund
- Hiring cost - you may need to increase fees to make your hire viable if you're responsible for implementing certain measures, such as cleaning
- Capacity of the space - you'll have a legal maximum capacity for the space, but numbers will now also depend on the control measures in the risk assessment and government guidance
Download and adapt our premises hire model policy - we've updated it to reflect the coronavirus situation.
Seek independent legal advice when updating your policy and agreements
You should consult your legal experts when you're making changes to your policy and agreements. This is so you don't open your school to risks in terms of legal liability.
Maintained schools: check also with your local authority before you implement any changes, as your LA may have specific rules you need to follow.
Voluntary controlled, voluntary aided and foundation schools: you should also speak to anyone else with a stake in your land (e.g. your diocese).
Justin Smith, managing director and senior consultant at SafetyMARK. SafetyMARK supports safety excellence in schools. It carries out audits and provides specialist advice to help schools control safety risks. It also administers a certification scheme to help schools manage and support safety standards, and recognises those schools that have gone the extra mile.
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