Shaun, Ryan, Stan and Jatinder are all part of the SG World team of School Asset Management engineers. These guys are always on the go but we managed to get them to sit down long enough to ask them some questions about performing school audits.
Q: How important are DBS checks to schools?
Ryan and Stan: Very important. Schools always ask for the DBS check which we can provide at a standard or enhanced level. Very occasionally a school has needed to go a step further and get us to work with a chaperone, which is no problem at all.
Q: Have you ever found something that a school wasn’t expecting?
Ryan and Stan: Once in Yorkshire, we were asked to asset tag an old, damp, spooky cellar which all the staff avoided. The last time it had been used was the previous year, when the local fire brigade had used it for a fire drill. When we descended to perform the audit, we actually discovered a flood. Luckily we raised this to the school's attention before any permanent damage was done. None of us were expecting that!
Shaun and Jatinder: Usually it’s a cupboard or box full of cameras or batteries that people have forgotten they had.
Q: What’s the most common and most unusual thing you’ve had to audit?
Ryan and Stan: Well chairs are the most common thing, we once logged 750 in one audit. We’ve had quite a few unusual things, a fully working broadcast studio, a Boeing 747 cockpit, a replica model of a Roman amphitheatre and the second largest chapel in Europe.
Shaun and Jatinder: Many schools have animals now so we’ve included some chickens, rabbits and even an alpaca in our audit. Being eyeballed by an alpaca when you’re trying to audit the playground can be a bit unnerving!
Q: So how many steps do you guys clock up on an average audit?
Ryan and Stan: Quite a lot. Some high schools have really big sites and I’ve probably done over 150K steps to cover the whole audit.
Shaun and Jatinder: Too many!
Q: What advice would you give to a school when you’re doing an audit?
Shaun and Jatinder: Well every school is different so we always sit down and discuss what a school is looking for before we start. Some schools are focusing on an up-to-date fire list for insurance purposes whilst others are looking at the fixed Asset Management and Ghost Assets list for their accounts.
Ryan and Stan: We’d advise the school to let the staff know what we are doing, ask them to bring in any equipment they usually keep at home and have it somewhere where we can see it. Have a think about what items you want included, for example some schools only record assets above a certain value and it’s quite usual to count chairs but not physically tag them.
Shaun and Jatinder: To keep your inventory up to date take a “little and often” approach, keep on top of additions and disposals so it doesn’t become overwhelming – or, like most of our customers, get us guys in again.
Q:Who’s your usual contact at a school?
Ryan and Stan: The usual contact is the School Business Manager who will typically be responsible for managing the assets. IT will occasionally be involved, typically because the higher value IT assets are the items which are of most concern. Site managers get involved on occasion, usually because they are the ones who handle the delivery of new items and the physical removal of old items.
Q: What’s the best feedback you’ve ever got?
All: We get loads of good feedback, which is lovely. It’s obviously a weight off people’s minds that we’re there to get the audit sorted. Usually schools really appreciate our flexibility in being able to work around their schedule and do such a thorough job. We’ve been invited to share a few Christmas dinners as a tasty thank you.
Q: What’s it like working in an environment with a load of children?
Ryan and Stan: It’s lovely to work in schools, it’s always full of positive, smiling people so being immersed in this environment means it rubs off on you. Kids are naturally very friendly and curious, they always want to know what you’re doing, usually they’re hoping they’re getting new computers. You also get a big nostalgia hit – the smell of Plasticine and paint really reminds me of my own school days.
Shaun and Jatinder: That’s true. It’s also very, very loud.