Risk protection arrangement (RPA): guide for academies

How academies can opt in to the risk protection arrangement (RPA), what the arrangement covers and where they can go for support.

The risk protection arrangement (RPA) is an alternative to commercial insurance for academy trusts. Under RPA, the UK government covers the losses instead of commercial insurance.

All academy trusts can opt in to RPA, including:

  • mainstream academies
  • church and faith academies
  • special academies (academies for children with special educational needs or disabilities)
  • alternative provision (AP) academies (academies for children who can’t go to a mainstream school)
  • free schools
  • studio schools
  • university technical colleges (UTCs)
  • private finance initiative (PFI) academies

Read more background information about RPA.

Opt in to RPA

All open academies can opt in to RPA online.

Opting in to RPA is free of charge. You can opt in immediately or up to 12 months in advance.

Schools in the process of converting to an academy can opt in to RPA as part of the academy conversion process. New free schools can also opt in as they go through the free school pre-opening stage. Please speak to your DfE project lead about opting in.

When you opt in, we will ask for your school’s unique reference number (URN) and for the month when you want RPA to start for you. If you’re switching from a commercial insurance company to RPA, make sure you plan the move to avoid gaps where you aren’t covered by either a commercial provider or RPA.

We’ll send you a joining pack, including a document about employer liability, when you opt in.

You only need to opt in to RPA once. Once you’ve opted in, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) will renew your membership every year.

Funding for RPA

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.

From September 2018 to August 2019, the RPA deduction will remain at £20 per pupil.

What RPA covers

Details of the losses RPA will cover are available in the RPA membership rules.

What RPA doesn’t cover

RPA doesn’t cover:

  • motor vehicle insurance
  • overseas travel insurance - RPA only covers travel in the UK
  • work of art insurance
  • engineering inspection and insurance - academy trusts will need to make their own arrangements for statutory inspections with an authorised body

If you’d like cover for aspects not covered under RPA, you’re free to choose a commercial insurance provider to cover them but you’ll need to pay for this from your GAG.

DfE has made arrangements with Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC). You can purchase cover for risks not covered under RPA from them, but you’re free to choose a different provider. CPC also offer a legal services helpline.

Church academies

There is an alternative set of membership rules for church academies, developed following discussions with National Society of the Church of England and the Catholic Education Service. These rules apply to church academies where the trustees of a church organisation allow an academy trust to occupy property that belongs to the trustees. They:

  • make clear that the RPA will cover losses and liabilities incurred by the trustees in respect of the academy trust’s operations on their property
  • allow the trustees to make claims on behalf of a RPA member in respect of losses and liabilities incurred by the trustees relating to trust property made available to the member by the trustees
  • provide that the proceeds of such claims will be payable directly to the trustees by the RPA administrator
  • allow the trustees to invoke the complaints and arbitration procedures in relation to such claims

In all other respects, the membership rules for church academies are the same as the standard membership rules.

If you’re a church academy that has already opted in to RPA and you’d like to transfer to the membership rules for church academies, you should:

  1. Get consent from your academy’s trustees.
  2. Contact the RPA team at DfE.

Private finance initiative (PFI) academy trusts

Academy trusts that are part of a PFI scheme may be legally required to take out specific commercial insurance as part of their PFI contract.

These academies can join RPA for their non-PFI risks only.

DfE will not accept claims from PFI academies for their PFI risks. After reviewing PFI insurance funding arrangements for academies, we concluded that all local authorities fund academies for PFI in the same way as local-authority-maintained PFI schools. Therefore, there is no case for giving additional funding to academies for the costs of PFI insurance.

Make a claim under RPA

Gallagher Bassett Ltd handle RPA claims. Gallagher Bassett are a third party administrator.

Contact Gallagher Bassett if you need to make a claim via the online portal.

Gallagher Bassett Ltd (for urgent RPA incidents and existing claims)

RPA support

Questions about risk management and membership rules

It is important that you identify, assess and manage risks appropriately.

If you need risk management advice, contact Willis Towers Watson. They provide risk management advice, training and best practice guidance to RPA members free of charge.

You should also contact Willis Towers Watson if you have questions about RPA cover or membership rules.

Willis Towers Watson

General questions

If you have any other questions, including queries about opting in, email the RPA team at DfE.

Risk protection arrangement (RPA) team

Published 8 April 2014
Last updated 16 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated to give costs up to August 2019.
  2. Updated Gallagher Bassett contact details.
  3. Updated the guidance and included information about changes to funding from September 2016.
  4. Updated information on funding for RPA and guidance on how to opt in.
  5. Link added to standard wording referring to RPA in model leases.
  6. Updated with information about the membership rules for church academies.
  7. Updated with further information about risk management.
  8. Updated to add a link to the actuarial analysis report.
  9. RPA membership figures updated, showing number of academy members as of 1 October 2014.
  10. Updated with the link to the new form for opting in to RPA.
  11. Updated with information about how converting schools and new free schools opt in to the RPA.
  12. Updated with changes to reflect that the arrangement went live as at 1 September 2014.
  13. Updated to add further information and links to the RPA membership rules.
  14. More details about the benefits of joining the RPA scheme have been added
  15. DfE appoints expert advisors on risk protection arrangement (RPA) and third party administrator (TPA) for claims handling. Updated information relating to the implementation of the scheme.
  16. First published.