Asset Management

Our experienced project managers offer strong leadership of the delivery process from project inception through to occupation

Academy Conversion

MD Consultants (UK)  have extensive experience of project managing both convertor and sponsored academies.

Governance

Our team have extensive experience of working with school governing bodies and single convertor academies to large multi-academy trusts.

Procurement

Undertaking tendering on your behalf to ensure the trust is operating correctly and equally importantly is free from any charges of self interest.

Regulatory Review

As their own admissions authority Academy Trusts have wide ranging responsibilities and accountabilities for admissions

Support

We will answer any questions you may have and ensure you feel supported throughout the process to completion.

What we do

MD Consultants (UK) Ltd. are a specialist consultancy providing a truly exceptional level of service and commitment to our clients. Through our team of consultants and associates, we at MD have a superb pool of talent to draw on with a vast array of experience in the education sector working with schools, local authorities and the DfE.

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ACADEMY
CONVERSION

Academy Conversion

Our team have extensive experience of working with school governing bodies and single convertor academies to large multi-academy trusts.

We have supported schools and trust in all the ways described below. Such support is tailored to your specific needs but might include some areas outlined in the table below:We have also developed a framework for the self-evaluation of multi academy trusts. This can also be used for school governing bodies and single academy trusts, although we are hoping to launch a specific tool for these groups soon.This tool has been developed through our extensive work in setting up and supporting trusts and in response to an increasing degree of scrutiny of trusts from the DfE, the media and increasingly, from Ofsted.The framework focuses on the work of the trust itself rather than on the academies and looks at five key areas of operation: Trust Rationale and Purpose, Governance, Academy Improvement, The Provision of Central Services and the Trust's Management of its Assets.The tool can be used as a health check, to assist with strategic planning or to assess whether there is a common view of the work of the trust amongst stakeholders.The tool is completely free to use, however we would be very grateful if you would provide feedback and in particular how useful it was and  how it can be improved.All information provided will be treated as completely confidential and will not be shared with any third parties. We will, however, share anonymised summary data with all users in the near to assist with benchmarking.The framework can be found by clicking on our website.


academy conversion

Pre Application

Deciding whether to become an academy is an important step and governing bodies will want to understand the potential benefits and risks as well as the process. If you do decide to go ahead you will need to complete the DfE application process. Agreement is not certain and timing may be an important factor so that the school can demonstrate the necessary progress and attainment You will also need to find a legal firm that will represent you through the process.

academy conversion

MD Consultants can help by:

-Holding a workshop for governors that analyses the benefits and risks in an open and honest way. Becoming an academy is not right for everyone and we will help you understand the impact and the process. We will also help you explore the options in terms of becoming a stand-alone academy or the benefits of joining an existing multi-academy trust or of becoming one yourselves. -Helping you understand the funding available and how it can be used
-Guiding you through the application process or checking documentation for you prior to submission
-Helping you to draw up a project plan that ensures all the necessary activities are completed in a timely manner


academy conversion

Consultation

DThe consultation process is a statutory requirement and therefore must be done correctly. You will need to decide who your stakeholders are and what information they will need in order to make an informed decision on whether they are in support of the school becoming an academy. Whilst it is not a requirement that stakeholders support the proposals, few governing bodies of proposed convertor academies choose to go ahead in the face of significant opposition.

academy conversion

MD Consultants can help by:

-Helping you draft a consultation plan that ensures the consultation process meets the statutory requirements
-Working with you to identify key stakeholders
-Exploring the benefits of the various forms of communication
-Setting up a website on your behalf, if needed
-Producing leaflets and letters for your stakeholders
-Facilitating meetings for staff, parents and the community to explain the proposals
-Producing the final consultation report


academy conversion

Legal Requirements

There are a wide range of legal requirements associated with academy conversion related to the setting up of the Trust that will become the maintaining body, transfer of the land and assets from the LA to the Trust and the completion of standardised DfE documentation.

academy conversion

MD Consultants can help by:

-Explaining the range of tasks to be undertaken. Legal support can be very costly and therefore we will help you to decide what support you need, who from and what you might want to do yourselves.
-Procuring and a legal firm with the necessary experience and skills to undertake the required tasks


academy conversion

TUPE

On becoming an academy staff will transfer from the Local Authority to the newly formed trust. At this point the trust has the option to change pay and conditions if they so wish. It is important that this process is handled correctly and that staff and their unions, as well as the LA are fully informed and understand both the impact of any changes, as well as the process.

academy conversion

MD Consultants can help by:

-Working with you draw up a TUPE plan that ensure the process is managed smoothly and that all requirements are met
-Helping you explore the option to change pay and conditions and the potential implications, both positive and negative.
-Providing briefings for staff on the process Liaising with the LA and unions to ensure a smooth process


academy conversion

FINANCES

On becoming an academy staff will transfer from the Local Authority to the newly formed trust. At this point the trust has the option to change pay and conditions if they so wish. It is important that this process is handled correctly and that staff and their unions, as well as the LA are fully informed and understand both the impact of any changes, as well as the process.

academy conversion

MD Consultants can help by:

-Working with you draw up a TUPE plan that ensure the process is managed smoothly and that all requirements are met
-Helping you explore the option to change pay and conditions and the potential implications, both positive and negative.
-Providing briefings for staff on the process
-Liaising with the LA and unions to ensure a smooth process


ASSET
MANAGEMENT

Asset Management

Our experienced project managers offer strong leadership of the delivery process from project inception through to occupation.

Our project management service is client focused and recognises clients’ individual project and development objectives. Our approach is based upon a proven methodology that addresses the needs of the project throughout its life cycle, setting out a framework of controls that can be applied to ensure its successful completion. Our teams of professional, qualified project managers have a wide range of project experience and bring enthusiasm and motivation to succeed on each and every project. We are proud of our reputation for successful project delivery and believe that this comes from our client focus and philosophy of providing strong leadership on projects, backed up by effective management systems. We identify and manage risks from the outset and define clear business objectives to ensure the project is delivered on time, within budget and to the highest quality standards.


asset management

Determining the Condition of Your Assets

It is vital that the trust has an up to date assessment of all required works and their costs to enable them to address urgent issues and to be able to plan strategically for future costs. In many cases existing information is not up to date or accurate. Where a trust is considering an application from a school it is important that as part of the due diligence an accurate assessment of the condition of the school buildings is obtained so that the trust can make an informed decision on any risks it might be facing

asset management

MD Consultants can help by:

-Reviewing existing condition information for all Trust academies, including existing LA condition surveys and EFA Property Data Surveys (PDS) -Undertaking condition surveys of individual academies where existing information is either not up to date or sufficiently detailed for the requirements of the project.
-Drawing up an overall condition plan, prioritising condition issues in line with the EFA guidance and providing a ten year estimated cost programme. -Negotiating with the LA on behalf of the trust to agree how existing and future condition issues might be addressed for schools who may become part of the trust.


asset management

Ensuring Compliance of Your Assets

When the Trust takes over responsibility for managing the buildings and other capital assets there is a need to ensure that all necessary surveys and checks are carried out on a regular basis, both to comply with the law and to ensure the welfare of students and staff

asset management

MD Consultants can help by:

-Undertaking a compliance check for each academy to ensure all required checks are in place and up to date, e.g. asbestos, electrical, legionella. -Where appropriate commissioning required works and surveys to meet compliance requirements e.g. electrical checks, asbestos surveys and plans, legionella surveys.
-Providing the Trust with an on-line tool to manage compliance issues for all its academies


asset management

Developing a Property Strategy

It is important that schools, academies and trusts have a strategic plan that takes into account the condition of the current buildings and the ambitions for the future, including anticipated changes in pupil numbers and the development of new facilities. This helps with forward planning, the allocation of resources and considerably strengthens the case when attempting to access funds from external bodies. A good Property Strategy: -analyses the current position and impact on the school of the current estate
-clearly sets out the intended outcomes and benefits that can be achieved -demonstrates that all possible options have been considered and evaluated
-provides an accurate picture of likely costs explores any design issues -takes into account how the project might be delivered

asset management

MD Consultants can help by:

-Working with governors and senior leaders to explore possibilities and articulate the forward plan, bringing to bear our extensive experience of funding, design and procurement.
-Commissioning surveys including condition and asbestos that are essential to a well-developed property strategy
-Commissioning architects to develop outline schemes to ensure proposals are deliverable and meet your aspirations.
-Commissioning and overseeing cost planning to enable you to develop an accurate understanding of the potential costs and undertake appropriate prioritisation.
-Working with you to undertake a full options appraisal to explore cost, benefits and outcomes to assist in your decision making.
-Providing advice on project phasing and programming to minimise disruption to the existing school whilst meeting key project milestones such as procurement and planning.
-Drafting the full property strategy in a format recognised and valued by external funding agencies


asset management

Writing Funding Applications

IThe major source of funding for academies and trusts is the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Applications are usually accepted during a short window each year with strict criteria for acceptance. The funding regime is a competitive process so it is important that applications score highly against all the criteria. Applications for funding can usually be either to address condition issues or for expansion of the school.

asset management

MD Consultants can help by:

-Utilising our extensive experience of successful capital funding applications in advising you if your project is likely to meet the funding criteria and the best funding route.
-Ensuring all the requirements for a successful application are in place, including benefit analysis, option appraisals, cost planning, programme planning and analysis of deliverability. (Please note for expansion projects we would recommend that a full property strategy is undertaken in advance of the application round)
- Drafting the application on your behalf ensuring all key deadlines are met


asset management

Managing your Project

IProject management is about ensuring that your project is delivered on time, to cost and to the quality you expect. Key to any project is ensuring it delivers the desired outcomes whilst minimising the disruption to the running of the school and in particular to ensure that school staff are able to focus on their core work. This means that they need to be informed of developments and engaged in key decisions but not encumbered by day to day detail.

asset management

MD Consultants can help by:

-Agreeing the scope of works with the Trust  and developing a detailed specification of works
-Where appropriate commissioning surveys required for capital works, e.g. planning advice, soil surveys, tree surveys, wildlife surveys etc.
-If required undertaking soft market testing to ensure proposals are fully market ready and to develop interest in the programme
-Preparing and managing the tender process, ensuring compliance with public sector procurement guidance
-Engaging with the successful bidder to finalise contracts and develop programme plans
-Acting on behalf of the Trust as project manager throughout the construction process liaising with contractors as required
-Reporting to the Trust on project progress, provide updates on risk and costs as agreed
-Liaising with the EFA and provide all necessary returns and notifications -Liaising with academies throughout the process to ensure effective working and minimal disruption


governance

Governance

Our team have extensive experience of working with school governing bodies and single convertor academies to large multi-academy trusts.

Our team have extensive experience of working with school governing bodies and single convertor academies to large multi-academy trusts. We have supported schools and trust in all the ways described below. Such support is tailored to your specific needs but might include some areas outlined in the table below: We have also developed a framework for the self-evaluation of multi academy trusts. This can also be used for school governing bodies and single academy trusts, although we are hoping to launch a specific tool for these groups soon. This tool has been developed through our extensive work in setting up and supporting trusts and in response to an increasing degree of scrutiny of trusts from the DfE, the media and increasingly, from Ofsted. The framework focuses on the work of the trust itself rather than on the academies and looks at five key areas of operation: Trust Rationale and Purpose, Governance, Academy Improvement, The Provision of Central Services and the Trust's Management of its Assets. The tool can be used as a health check, to assist with strategic planning or to assess whether there is a common view of the work of the trust amongst stakeholders. The tool is completely free to use, however we would be very grateful if you would provide feedback and in particular how useful it was and  how it can be improved. All information provided will be treated as completely confidential and will not be shared with any third parties. We will, however, share anonymised summary data with all users in the near to assist with benchmarking. The framework can be found by clicking on our website.


governance

Becoming a Multi-Academy Trust

The decision to form a multi academy trust is an important one that needs careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits. In addition once DfE approval has been gained there are a host of considerations before agreeing to take on any additional schools: There are now over 700 multi academy trusts in England but substantial numbers have yet to take on a second academy.

governance

MD Consultants can help by:

-Running workshops for governing bodies and trusts to understand the process and assess the potential risks and benefits
-Working with you to help design your trust model
-Helping to develop strategic planning to look at how a trust might grow and the actions to be take along the way
-Guiding you through the DfE processes and reviewing key documentation


governance

Reviewing the Effectiveness of the Trust

Academy trusts are new and evolving organisations and as yet there is little evidence of what makes an effective trust. It is however clear that there is a growing demand from the DfE, the media and from Ofsted to hold trusts to greater account.

governance

MD Consultants can help by:

-Undertaking reviews of the work of the Trust based on our self-evaluation tool described above. This takes the form of a review of key documentation, data and interviews with key people in the trust as well as wider stakeholders. This results in a detailed report on the trust as well as recommendations for future actions.
-The process and resulting report is invaluable in taking stock of the trust and in developing strategic planning. In addition such an external evaluation provides an objectivity and level of scrutiny that allows it to be used with stakeholders and external agencies to demonstrate the progress the trust is making and the robust nature of its forward planning.


governance

Supporting Trust Governance

Being an effective governing body or trust is an increasingly difficult task and the very model of governance is being continually questioned. Governance is not only about ensuring the schools for which you have responsibility are successful, but also about being able to show that the strategic direction and level of scrutiny are instrumental in that success. For many trusts the change from being a school governing body to a trust, and in particular a multi academy trust can be difficult. Often the process becomes all-consuming and not enough attention is given to the development of the governing body and the changes in process and procedure that might accompany these changes.

governance

MD Consultants can help by:

-Undertaking a review of governing body or trust operation to determine the impact of the body and the evidence trail for this. This can be through reviews of minutes and meeting observation as well as interviews with governors, members and directors as appropriate. This can result in a reports and/or action plan as necessary
-Undertake an audit of the skills and capability of the board and providing recommendations for action and development
-Providing bespoke development sessions for the board on all aspects of operation


governance

Reviewing Your Reporting Mechanisms

Effective reporting lies at the heart of governance ensuring that governors and directors have the right information, at the right level and in a format that is accessible for them. It is important to ensure that meetings are focussed and differentiated so that committees and boards do not repeat discussions and that there is an annual cycle of reports and discussions to ensure appropriate coverage.

governance

MD Consultants can help by:

-Reviewing current reporting systems, both through scrutiny of documentation, observing meetings and interviewing key stakeholders -Assisting in developing a suite of documents within and comprehensive annual cycle of reporting, for example reports on standards and progress, staff development, stakeholder engagement


governance

Reviewing Operating Procedures

As many trusts have grown organically there is often a need to pause and take stock of decisions and methods of operating to ensure they are effective, efficient and understood by key stakeholders.

governance

MD Consultants can help by:

-Reviewing the clarity and impact of the trust’s operating procedures, for example how any top slice is determined and utilised, trust decisions on central service provision, the roles and function of any centrally employed staff, the value for money of central contracts, whether the trust is compliant with EFA guidance and best practice in its procurement and financial decision making.



procurement

procurement

Ensuring Compliance with Financial Regulations

Academy Trusts are procuring goods and services worth millions of pounds of public money. There are many well-publicised cases of trusts failing to follow best practice, resulting in Financial Notices to Improve being served by the EFA and in some cases criminal prosecution of individuals.

procurement

MD Consultants can help by:

-Undertaking a review of financial processes and procurement to ensure compliance with the EFA Financial Handbook and the principles of best practice for public funding
-Undertaking tendering on your behalf to ensure the trust is operating correctly and equally importantly is free from any charges of self interest


procurement

Providing Best Value

Provision for goods and services held by trusts are often legacy contracts dating back to the academy conversion. Trusts have the options, and duty, to ensure that it procures the best contracts, both in terms of quality and price. In many cases trust find that contract end dates are different for all their academies and as a result it is difficult to procure centrally, limiting the ability to secure better value.

procurement

MD Consultants can help by:

-Assisting the trust in reviewing all contracts across the trust and developing proposals for assimilating all contracts to a central procurement timetable. We have particular expertise in negotiating with existing providers to harmonise contract end dates and service specifications, assisting you in being able to block procure for the whole trust or to amend existing contracts
-Reviewing contract specifications to ensure fitness for purpose.  We have extensive experience of contracts from across the country and can work with you to ensure your specifications reflect your needs
-Providing a benchmarking review for all your current contracts, comparing price and quality against our extensive database to advise you on  where improvements can be achieved



Regulatory Review

regulatory review

Admissions

As their own admissions authority Academy Trusts have wide ranging responsibilities and accountabilities for admissions

regulatory review

MD Consultants can help by:

-Undertaking a review of current admissions arrangements to ensure compliance with the code of practice
-Offering and advise and support for trusts who wish to administer their own admission and appeals systems
-Assisting trusts who are considering making changes to their admissions criteria and numbers
-Offering individual case consultancy on exclusions and appeals


why us?

MD Consultants (UK) Ltd. are a specialist consultancy providing a truly exceptional level of service and commitment to our clients

our values

Through our team of consultants and associates, we at MD have a superb pool of talent to draw on with a vast array of experience in the education sector working with schools, local authorities and the DfE

our goals

Our USP is that we genuinely believe we can provide a more personable and tailored service to our clients compared to the larger consultancy corporations; which is why our clients continually retain our services long after we have successfully delivered on their initial projects.

about us

Our approach is simple we combine the strength of pure project management disciplines with a real life common sense approach to problem solving and managing outcomes; ensuring that we deliver change and institutional transformation to our clients..

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