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14. Regulations require local authorities to establish management committees to run pupil referral units in their area, to make provision for the constitution (including composition) and procedures of management committees, and to delegate specific powers to management committees17. The management committee must have a strategic role setting out and monitoring the aims and objectives of the unit to ensure children are safe, have their needs met and receive a good standard of education.
15. Changes to legislation18 require local authorities to delegate budgets to the management committee of the pupil referral unit from 1 April 2013. The relevant regulations19 prescribe how PRUs’ budget shares are to be calculated and what funds for high needs pupils can be retained centrally by a local authority. (See further guidance on those regulations).
16. Giving management committees a delegated budget will ensure that pupil referral units can act more responsively and specifically in the best interests of pupils. From April 2013, local authorities must delegate to the management committee responsibility to set budgets. Management committees will also have responsibility for all other financial decisions necessary to manage and spend budgets effectively, such as maintaining accurate accounts20, signing contracts and deciding on severance payments to dismissed members of staff.
17. Funding arrangements for pupil referral units will also be changing from 1 April 2013, in line with changes to 2013/14 school finance. All direct state-funded alternative provision institutions (including pupil referral units) will receive base funding of £8,000 per place, topped up by funding from the commissioning local authority or school for each pupil admitted. The amount of the top up for each child will be for local decision and should be based on services provided to meet the needs of the individual child and any additional overheads not covered by the base funding.
18. Also from April 2013, responsibility for all decisions about the recruitment and management of staff will sit with the management committee, rather than the local authority . As with community schools the local authority will remain the employer of staff in pupil referral units and will continue to be responsible for agreeing pay and conditions. The management committee will, however, have responsibility for making decisions about appointing, managing, appraising, suspending or dismissing members of staff. In carrying out the duties with regard to this, management committees must adhere to the relevant sections of the School Staffing Regulations.
19. In terms of the composition of management committees, they must contain at least seven, but no more than 20 members. The structure is outlined in the table below. The regulations cited in paragraph 14 provide more information about who may be eligible in the different categories.
|Parent members||At least one, but no more than one-fifth of the total committee.|
|Staff members||At least one, but no more than one-third of the total committee.|
|Local authority-appointed members||At least one, but no more than one-third of the total committee.|
|Community members||Must outnumber all of the other members.|
|Sponsor members||Sponsor members are entirely optional but where a committee has sponsor members there must be at least one, but no more than two.|
20. Changes were made to regulations in 2012, specifically about community members . When appointing community members, local authorities (or the management committee itself where it is already in place) must first seek to appoint representatives from local schools. The regulations also specify that local authority employees, other than persons employed by the local authority to work in a school maintained by them, cannot be community members. Any current community members who are employees of the local authority (and who are not employed to work in a school maintained by that authority) can remain in place until 1 September 2013, when they will have to be replaced by a new community member who must be appointed in accordance with the new requirements.
21. Increasing school representation on management committees will help ensure that the needs of pupils are better met, and help build continuity and raise standards in their educational attainment. This is therefore a priority for management committee membership. Where it is not possible to appoint a school representative and there is difficulty in finding people to appoint as community members, consideration should be given to appointing community members who are involved with the young people, who may typically be in alternative provision in their area. This may include community groups, offending or drug support groups, and other alternative provision and pupil referral units. Local businesses, colleges and others who work with young people could also be considered. Where the local authority or management committee feel it would be valuable to retain the input from other local authority services (who previously sat on the committee as community members) it should be noted that representatives from these services can still attend management committee meetings to offer valuable insights, though they would not have voting rights.
22. Where a pupil referral unit requires special measures or significant improvement, or where a pupil referral unit is judged to be underperforming, the Secretary of State can replace members of the management committee with interim executive members.
16 See regulation 7 of the Education (Short Stay Schools) (Closure) (England) Regulations 2010, as amended by The Pupil Referral Units (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2012, which came into force on 1 September 2012).
17 The Education (Pupil Referrals Units) (Management Committees etc.) (England) Regulations 2007 (as amended by The Pupil Referral Units (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2012).
18 Section 45 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, as amended by section 50 of the Education Act 2011.
19 The School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations 2012.
20 Consistent Financial Reporting (England) Regulations 2012 SI/2012/674.
21 By virtue of the application of the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009, with modifications, applying to PRUs but from April 2013.
22 The Pupil Referral Units (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2012, which came into force on 1 September 2012.
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The regulations give effect to the changes to the school funding system previously announced, including simplified local funding formulae, the new “place plus” system for funding high needs and increased delegation of central budgets.