With the youngest members of society being most at risk from the health impacts of lead, DWQR has pursued three initiatives within the review of lead policy to ensure our school and nursery premises do not present any issues. The Care Inspectorate for Scotland, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Scottish Council for Independent Schools (SCIS) have been involved in consultations for the two surveillance initiatives and are supportive of the need to ensure premises do not present any health risks to users.
Schools and Nurseries in publicly owned buildings
For those premises owned by local authorities where schooling or nursery services are hosted, assurance was sought from each Authority that there were no issues with lead in the drinking water in their buildings. Following their investigations of their premises, to date, 24 local authorities have provided confirmation that their investigations and any required remedial works are completed. The remaining Authorities are committed to the initiative and are working through their investigations.
Independent Schools and Private Nurseries
In the case of independent schools and privately owned nursery premises, where there is no overarching body responsible for buildings, it has been necessary to take a different approach. The DWQR has commissioned Scottish Water to manage the surveillance programme which will involve sampling of the water supply at drinking water points and kitchen areas within such buildings.
The programme started in a limited number of local authority areas at the end of October 2018 and it is hoped to be concluded across the country within 18 months. Site owners will be contacted in due course, to arrange access for sampling and to discuss the investigation process, as Scottish Water work through the programme. An information pack on this particular surveillance programme can be viewed here DWQR Information Pack.
Service managers and owners may wish to check the pipework entering their premises and within it to drinking water points now, to identify if there is any lead present and arrange in conjunction with the property owners to have it removed.
New Nursery services
In developing the two surveillance innitiatives, the opportunity was taken to ensure that any new applications for the registration of nursery services would be required to demonstrate the proposed setting(s) did not have any lead pipes present. The requirement was made more prominent in the Care Inspectorate's review of the design principles for new nursery services and was incorporated into a new guidance document. This is hosted on the Scottish Government website and can be viewed through the link: Space to Grow. (Section 2:Environment - Space for Children, p66/67)