This policy aims to give guidance to South Peninsula High School to implement and maintain consistent, effective and efficient asset management compliant with legislative requirements. It aims:
(i) to develop mechanisms to safeguard all assets of the school;
(ii) to ensure effective, efficient, and economical use of existing school assets;
(iii) to emphasize a culture of accountability and reporting with regard to school resources;
(iv) to ensure effective controls are communicated to management and staff through clear and comprehensive written documentation;
(v) to ensure the school’s asset policies and processes comply with the relevant regulations.
B APPLICABLE LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS
1. Constitution of South Africa
2. Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)
3. National Treasury Regulations (NTR)
4. Provincial Treasury Regulations (PTR)
5. National Treasury Asset Management Reform Strategy
6. Departmental Asset Management Policy
7. Financial Regulations, Frameworks and Standard Chart of Accounts for Public Schools
C GOOD ASSET MANAGEMENT
Financial Accountability promotes good asset management. Schools are encouraged to hold only those assets that are necessary for the efficient, effective and economical delivery of its services and programmes.
The following should be enforced to ensure proper asset management:
(i) all assets must be properly identified, controlled and recorded in the school’s Asset Register until they are ultimately disposed and cease to be in the ownership of the school;
(ii) all assets must be uniquely identified with an asset barcode / tag or permanent marker assigned by the school;
(iii) ownership of the asset must lie with the school and must be reflected in the Asset Register of the school;
(iv) all asset transactions must be duly authorized and noted by the relevant delegated personnel;
(v) all assets must be kept safe and maintained in good working order.
D APPOINTMENT OF A SCHOOL ASSET OFFICER
The school must appoint an Asset Officer to be responsible for the maintenance of the school’s Asset Register and to ensure that:
(i) all asset purchases, transfers, movements, damages, losses, thefts, and donations are recorded in the school’s Asset Register and regularly communicated to the Principal, SGB, SMT and relevant District Office;
(ii) all assets are clearly and uniquely marked or numbered with the school’s marking system;
(iii) all assets are used for their intended purposes.
E THE APPOINTMENT OF A SCHOOL ASSET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
A School Asset Management Committee must be appointed to guide the procurement, management and disposal of assets in a school. The School Asset Management Committee must be constituted as follows:
(i) committee members should include subject or phase specialists, a member(s) of the SGB and a member of the school’s senior management;
(ii) the principal of the school or his/ her deputy must be the chairperson of the School Asset Management Committee.
(iii) the Asset Officer must be the secretariat of the committee.
(iv) the minimum number of members must be five and not more than seven.
(v) all members must sign a Declaration of Interests Form to ensure that:
- there is confidentiality about the details of all orders, requisitions and disposal of assets;
- all service providers and potential service providers are treated equitably and without prejudice; and
- each member makes known details of any private or business interest which she/he, or any close family member, partner or associate may have in any proposed procurement or disposal process, or in any award or contract, and that she/he will immediately withdraw from participating in any manner whatsoever should this be the case.
(See Annexure A for an example of an “Attendance Register and Declaration of Interest for School Asset Management Committee”.)
F RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SCHOOL ASSET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
The School Asset Management Committee reports to the Principal and SGB of the school. It is responsible for the following activities:
(i) compiles the asset stock count and verification programme for the school year;
(ii) reviews the status of existing assets taking into account the service delivery needs, school objectives and budgetary requirements;
(iii) provides the asset stock count and verification programme to the Principal, SGB and District Office.
(iv) oversees all processes regarding the need analysis planning, procurement, management, losses and disposal processes and make recommendations to the relevant authority for approval.
G ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN
All schools must develop and implement an Asset Management Plan. Planning is a stage of identifying the need for an asset. The plan must take cognizance of the requirements set out by the WCED when purchasing school furniture from service providers. The Asset Management Committee is responsible for development of the Asset Management Plan. Schools must follow all approved departmental guidelines and procedures when procuring assets. In establishing the need for procuring an asset, the following questions must be answered in the affirmative:
(i) is the asset required budgeted for or included in the school’s order list to the Department;
(ii) will the usage of the asset benefit the school;
(iii) is the asset being acquired for a specific project; and
(iv) can the asset be reused within the school community?
The Asset Management Plan should include strategies the school will use to encourage the school community to safeguard school assets and ensure the safe keeping of such assets.
These strategies may include:
- lessons or projects on how to care for assets and ensure their safekeeping;
- promoting a culture within the school of respect for all assets. This could include a list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ in caring for assets, the displaying of posters with suitable messages and the modelling of appropriate behaviour by teachers;
- workshops for the repair of damaged furniture;
- principles and procedures for the use of assets by persons and organisations outside of the school;
- involving the SGB and the school community through an advocacy campaign including communication to parents via circulars or at parents’ meetings.
A capital budget for procurement of school assets must be compiled and approved for all capital acquisitions by the SGB.
H ASSET ACQUISITIONS
All acquisitions which fall within the ambit of the Norms and Standards allocation are procured according to the procedures determined by the WCED.
Procurement of other assets not covered by the above must be guided by departmental asset procurement plan, school asset management plan, budget, school development, and strategic plan of the Department. Asset purchases must follow the normal procurement policy as set out in the Financial Policy of the school.
The school’s Asset Officer must ensure that assets are recorded in the school’s Asset Register within seven days of delivery. It is the responsibility of all those who receive new assets to report asset purchases on arrival to the Asset Officer. Upon receipt of assets, the receiving official must inspect the goods received against the original order, requisition form, and invoice to ensure that the correct quantity and quality of assets are received, and that the correct prices were charged.
I ASSET MAINTENANCE
A maintenance plan must form part of the Asset Management Plan to ensure the school’s assets remain in good condition and ensure that, where applicable, services are carried out as set out in the manufacturer’s service manual of, for example, vehicles and technical and electronic equipment.
J SCHOOL ASSET REGISTER
A school’s asset register is an integral tool for accounting and reporting purposes. It enables the school to account for, and correctly disclose, the assets of the school in the Annual Financial Statements. Since this is an accounting tool, the auditors can test to ensure the disclosures in respect of fixed assets are complete and accurate, and that the assets do exist and are owned by the school. To assist with this, particularly in the case of movable assets where assets may be similar, it is recommended that each asset is given a unique identifier (barcode, tag, permanent marker). The Asset Register should be kept in a safe place and be updated on a regular basis as and when movement, additions, disposals, losses or any other changes arise.
The following information is a list of requirements for the School’s Asset Register:
(i) asset description;
(ii) asset class/type /category (e.g. school furniture, office furniture, computer equipment, etc.);
(iii) asset unique number (assigned by the school in form of a barcode, tag, or permanent marker);
(iv) cost of the asset (price or fair value);
(v) location (room allocation);
(vi) custodian (user responsible for the asset);
(vii) serial number;
(viii) date of acquisition;
(ix) expected useful life;
(x) method of acquisition (e.g. bought by school funds, donated, bought by the department, etc.).
K PHYSICAL ASSET COUNT AND VERIFICATION
This process entails the systematic and periodic physical verification of assets recorded in the asset register. An Asset Verification Team must be appointed in writing by the school Principal to conduct physical verification of assets at least twice per school year. Assistance may be sought from the District Office to form part of the Asset Verification Team. It is recommended that the school asset count and verification takes place in April and August when the school calendar is less busy. The following must be taken into consideration during the physical asset count and verification:
(i) reports of assets verified, assets not yet verified, missing assets, and additional assets must be compiled;
(ii) explanations and supporting documentation must be obtained for assets missing from the asset register;
(iii) a list of discrepancies and corrective actions must be submitted to the school Principal and SGB and forwarded to the relevant District Office for approval of adjustment to the school’s Asset Register. All school assets used by the employees leaving the employ of the school must be verified immediately before the employee’s departure.
L MOVEMENT AND LOANING OF ASSETS
Before any asset is loaned out, it must have the approval of the SGB and school principal. The borrower must be made fully liable in the case of damage or loss of the asset. The borrower is also responsible for the following:
(i) completion of the loan / return forms;
(ii) timely return of the assets and completion of the loan/return form to signify that the equipment has been returned;
iii) obtaining the relevant approval prior to taking the assets.
If the borrower takes the asset without proper approval by the relevant authority, the asset must be reported as a loss.
M PERSONAL USE OF SCHOOL ASSETS
Under no circumstances may an employee utilise the school’s assets for personal gain. The school’s assets may only be used for school purposes authorised by the SGB and school principal. Assets of the school should only be used at authorised venues and times as determined by the SGB and enforced by the school principal.
N ASSET DONATIONS
Any donations to the school, in money or in kind must be recorded in a Donations Register, which must be kept in the Finance Officer’s Office. Money donations must be receipted and, if requested, the relevant Tax Certificate must be issued. The following information must be clearly and explicitly reflected in the Register:
(i) full description regarding the nature of the donation;
(ii) the value or estimated value of the donation;
(iii) how and for what the donation will be utilized;
(iv) full name, contact number and address of the donor;
(v) any conditions that may be attached to the donation be clearly indicated.
NOTE: State property may not be donated to any person or institution without a written approval by the Accounting Officer of the Department.
O ASSET DISPOSAL
Assets must only be disposed of if they cannot be repaired or used for their intended purpose. Schools may not dispose of assets without approval by the relevant authority. An effort should be made to share surplus and unused assets with other schools where there is a need.
The Asset Management Committee must follow the following procedures when deciding on the disposal of obsolete furniture:
- All school furniture and other assets are the sole property of the WCED. Schools and or district officials are not permitted to dispose any school property, except as authorized in accordance with this procedure.
- The Principal should provide the District Director with a complete written description of any furniture considered obsolete. Furniture must be held at the school until approval is given for disposal.
- Methods of disposal must be approved by the District Director and be done in accordance with provincial/municipal ordinances.
- The user of the asset must report a malfunctioning asset to the Asset Official of the school indicating the reason for the need to dispose the asset.
- The Asset Officer must inspect the asset(s) and, if deemed necessary, recommends the disposal and submits the request to the School Asset Management Committee.
- Once the School Asset Management Committee has deliberated on the assets to be disposed, a recommendation detailing the intended disposal method is submitted to the SGB.
- The SGB approves according to its delegation, and forwards those outside its delegation to the District Director’s Office.
- Assets can only be disposed and removed from the school’s premises when the relevant authority has approved so.
- Proceeds from the disposal of assets must be deposited to the school’s bank account.
- The school’s Asset Register must be updated accordingly when the disposal has been concluded.
P ASSET LOSSES, THEFT OR DAMAGES
All officials entrusted with school assets are responsible for the management, including the safeguarding of those assets within that official’s area of responsibility. The following must be taken to consideration when a loss, theft or damage of a school asset has occurred:
- When a school asset (e.g. a vehicle, computer equipment, printer, etc.) has been lost, the incident must be reported to the nearest South African Police Services (SAPS) Office within 48 hours and a case number must be obtained.
- A detailed report must be submitted by the affected official explaining the incident.
- The report must be submitted to the School Asset Management Committee, through the school principal, for further investigation and determination of liability and forwarded to the SGB.
- The report is then submitted to the office of the Accounting Officer to approve write-off of the asset from the school’s Asset Register.
- Only when the approval to write-off the assets has been granted shall it be removed from the school Asset Register.
- Any person who loses laptops, cameras, tablets, cellphones, etc. assigned to them must pay for the cost of those items irrespective of circumstances surrounding the loss.
At the end of every school year, schools must report to the District Director on furniture retention for the current academic year, citing reasons for loss or damage.