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Loss of, or damage to, personal property

Appendix V of the Burgundy Book (see below) urges employers to "consider in a sympathetic light" making ex gratia payments for loss or damage to personal property. The NUT maintains that this should apply equally to members' motor vehicles necessarily parked while at work for the LEA, including out-of-school activities.

Suffolk LEA has issued a statement giving its LEA policy on ex gratia payments, including damage to teachers' cars. It applies to all schools.

Malicious damage to members' cars

If you suffer damage to your car parked in the school car park or otherwise on LEA business, you should:

Write to
Membership & Communications Department
National Union of Teachers
Hamilton House
Mabledon Place

If the culprit can be found, the Union expects the school to recoup the cost of reparation from the culprit (or the culprit's parents) and to take legal action, involving the police, if the culprit is old enough.

If the culprit refunds the member for the full cost of reparations (including any incidental costs resulting from the damage), no further action need be taken by the member (but legal proceedings may ensue against the culprit.)

If the culprit cannot be found or the amount recouped is insufficient to cover the full cost of the damages, the school or LEA (sometimes it has been shared) should be asked to make an ex gratia payment to the employee, without admitting Iiability.

If an ex gratia payment is refused and there is no other admitted liability, the Union should be contacted again to invoke the collective policy (remembering that excess clauses apply).

This direct compensation is fairly limited, however, and excess clauses apply. It is always therefore preferable to seek an ex gratia payment from the employer and the NUT Association / Division will assist in case of difficulty.

If the damage is extensive and expensive, the Union's insurers will advise and assist. The Union can take up the case on your behalf.

Whatever avenues are used, the employer should ensure that the full cost of any repairs and incidental expenses (eg. car hire) are recouped at no cost to the member, before invoking the Union's group insurance.

The principle that the Division applies is that no member should suffer financial loss through an incident which arises as part of the teacher's work and duties. Any member who is at risk of losing financially, despite taking the measures outlined above, should contact the Division Secretary.

Contact details for Division Secretary: Graham White, Brook Farm, Pooley Street, South Lopham, DISS, IP22 2JX
Tel: 01379 687293 or 07917 445851. 

E-mail Graham White, Division Secretary


Appendix V of the Burgundy Book, Section 1

Loss or damage to personal property:

From time to time teachers sustain losses of, or damage to, personal property during the course of their school duties or during out of school activities. It is considered that where loss or damage is not attributable to negligence on the part of the teacher, it would be reasonable for the employer to consider making compensation even though their legal liability is arguable. If an employer or governing body takes out insurance against such contingencies the normal basis for settlement would be the amount offered by the insurance company. Where, however, an employer or governing body does not insure, the normal practice would be for an ex gratia payment to be made. It would not necessarily follow that the amount of a specific payment would be the cost of the replacement of the property concerned. For example, in the case of damage to clothing, account would need to be taken of the age and condition of the clothing as would be the case if an application was being assessed by an insurance company. The circumstances will obviously differ widely from one case to another and it is obviously not practicable to devise a scheme which would cover all cases. The general approach suggested is that applications should be considered in a sympathetic light. At the same time the employer or governing body should bear in mind the fact that compensation should only be a reflection of the current value of the article lost or damaged. It is not intended that in all cases the full cost of replacement should be paid."