Bellevue Place Education Trust was established in 2012 by two founding organisations – Bellevue Education and Place Group – who both have considerable expertise within the state and independent education sector. The Department for Education approved the proposal to establish Bellevue Place Education Trust as a Multi-Academy Trust to provide much needed new primary school places across London and the south east.
Bellevue Place Education Trust has benefited significantly from the commitment of time and resources provided by the two founding organisations, along with our committed Trustees and Local Advisers across all BPET schools. As a start-up Trust, there was no existing infrastructure or personnel. Nine years since being established, Bellevue Place Education Trust has grown to become a strong school operator establishing seven and converting an eighth successful primary school. The two organisations continue to share their combined expertise with the Trust and its schools.
Details of all BPET Declarations of Interest can be found here, on our Governance Structure page.
Place Group and their subsidiary company, Schools Buying Club, continue to be a related party to Bellevue Place Education Trust as set out in the Academies Financial Handbook, and therefore act in accordance with the Department for Education’s guidance in this respect.
We have also included details of a potential Related Party Transactions with RM Plc, as a BPET Trustee joined the RM Plc Board in July 2020.
What is a Related Party Transaction?
A review of related party transactions in academies, published in November 2014, provides a helpful overview to how Related Party Transactions should be identified, managed and reporting.
- Related parties arise where one party has control or influence over the other, or where the parties are subject to common control. Accounting standards require transactions between related parties to be disclosed in company financial statements as related party transactions.
- Such transactions are permitted under company law, charity law and under the Academies Financial Handbook, provided that open and transparent procurement procedures have been followed, and any potential conflicts of interest are adequately and appropriately managed.
- Due to the nature of academy trusts’ operations and the fact that many academy trustees are drawn from local public and private sector organisations, it is unsurprising that some related party transactions occur.
BPET’s Commitment to Open and Transparent Transactions
Bellevue Place Education Trust welcomes the transparency of the Related Party Transaction review and the guidance this offers. With a commitment to provide transparency, in addition to the requirement of the Academies Financial Handbook, the Trust also commits to:
- Publishing a real-time list of Related Party Transactions
- Providing background to these arrangements in place
This additional transparency is offered, as public information about the contracts is made available through our Audited Annual Accounts.
Overview of Related Party Transactions with Bellevue Place Education Trust
The organisations that support BPET, with an outline of our Related Party Transactions in 2020/21 are:
- Schools’ Buying Club (SBC) is an education procurement advisory business, providing tender management services to ensure that schools receive best value for money from their contracts, including outsourced services and utilities.
SBC manages compliant tenders on behalf of the Trust for high spend contracts, along with ongoing contract management to ensure suppliers continue to provide high quality services. SBC does not charge a fee for this support, instead charging the supplier through a commission rebate model.
In order to be fully transparent and compliant, BPET went to the market for education procurement support in order to maximise BPET’s aggregated back office purchasing power and receive best value. Bellevue Place Education Trust used an independent procurement consultant in accordance with its financial regulations and awarded SBC with the contract. In entering into the transaction BPET has complied fully with the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook and services provided by SBC are provided ‘at cost’.
SBC has been compliantly procured by BPET to be the procurement provider for large scale contracts across BPET. This supports BPET to focus on areas where the group of schools can jointly procure services, using the purchasing power of the group to gain best value for money. These are in areas like outsourced catering.
SBC’s charging model means that the schools or Trust do not incur a direct fee for the procurement and contract management services – the successful supplier is charged between 0.75% and 5% of the contract fee. In 2020/21, SBC are supporting BPET through the tendering of Catering provider across all eight BPET schools.
- RM Plc – a group of businesses creates and maintains an extensive range of innovative solutions and services – all designed or selected to meet the specific needs of educational users. They have a number of subsidiary companies, that includes TTS Group.
A Trustee of BPET joined the RM Plc Board as a non-executive Director in July 2020. This is an exciting appointment for them, after being on the BPET Board for almost four years, along with other successful and high profile governance roles she undertakes.
BPET engages with TTS Group, who supply furniture and stationary to our schools through their catalogue service. As this Related Party came about after we were already regularly engaging with the supplier, we put a request to the DfE, through their formal Related Party Transaction portal for the arrangement to be continued. This was rejected, as we had no formally tendered contract in place with the provider. It was not procured as a single supplier across BPET, on an at an ‘at cost’ basis (which of course we wouldn’t, as we procured through TTS Group before the Related Party relationship came into being).
Therefore, to manage this conflict, we have taken the decision to cease using TTS Group as a supplier.
Last updated May 2021