Public Liability Insurance

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Purpose of this policy

To ensure all government schools have sufficient public liability insurance.


The Department’s public liability insurance policy provides total cover of $1 billion and has a $5 million self insured retention (SIR), with claims under that covered by the Department and:

  • applies when the Department, its employees or volunteers are legally liable for claims for:
    • bodily injury to third parties (people who are not employees or volunteers e.g. students.  Note: WorkSafe insurance covers employees and also volunteers who are engaged in ‘school work’ as defined in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic).
    • damage to or destruction of other people’s property (e.g. visitors’ cars parked on school grounds)
    • bodily injury or damage to third parties caused through student negligence during work experience or structured workplace learning.
  • does not provide cover:
    • for external providers or managers of external facilities against any liability they may incur through their own acts or omissions
    • where there is no legal liability to do so for bodily injury and/or damage to property belonging to third parties..

School's evidence of insurance

Use the Certificate of Currency to provide evidence of the Department’s public liability insurance see: Department resources

Note: For more information on the indemnity provided to teachers and school volunteers see: Personal Liability of School Employees and/or Volunteer Workers within Related policies

Reporting public liability claims

Report all claims (including those relating to out-of-pocket expenses arising from personal injury to students or members of the general public or third party property damage) to:

Legal Division
2 Treasury Place
East Melbourne  3002
Phone: (03) 9637-3146

and submit:

  • a detailed report on the circumstances surrounding the incident
  • the claim or civil proceeding notice received, or any correspondence of a legal nature, received.

Do not:

  • admit or acknowledge liability
  • speculate or offer an opinion as to the merit (or otherwise) of the claim
  • negotiate with the claimant or their legal representative.

For more information see: Negligence Claims Process and Responding to Legal Claims, Writs and Subpoenas

Note:  Injury claims should be made according to the procedures on Human Resources.

External providers and public liability

Ensure that external providers have public liability insurance.  Before a service starts, request a copy of the certificate of currency and check the policy is:

  • current and with a reputable insurer
  • for the minimum sum per occurrence of $10 million.

Hiring of school facilities

When a school makes their facilities available for use by third parties; this arrangement falls into two categories:

  • activities for community benefit such as specific interest clubs, book reading societies or foreign language tuition, all of which are not-for-profit
  • activities carried out for private use such as birthday parties and barbeques and for-profit organisations.

The Department has removed the requirement for not-for-profit community groups, engaged in low risk activities, to provide written evidence that they have $10 million public liability insurance when hiring school facilities and School Councils will continue to be covered through the Department’s public liability insurance with the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority. However, insurance coverage is not extended to the third parties hiring school facilities.

Groups that will be required to have $10 million public liability insurance include those:

  • conducting high risk activities such as fireworks displays, bouncing castles, horse riding and fun fair activities involving machinery
  • required to have insurance by their association (e.g. incorporated sporting clubs)
  • required to have insurance for regulatory purposes or
  • commercial entities.

Note:  Previous advice given by the Department insisted that all third parties using school facilities should have public liability insurance and proof of this should be obtained prior to allowing them on the school property. This advice has since been revised to enable greater use by community groups. It is now recommended that only groups whose activities pose a significant risk to school property, personnel, students or other members of the public need to produce written evidence of their public liability insurance.

The same discretion should be also used in allowing private use of school facilities. However if a for-profit organisation wishes use school property then proof of public liability insurance must be obtained.

Joint use facilities

The standard agreement covering joint use facilities requires the community partner/third party to arrange and fund public liability insurance. 

Contact details

Financial Compliance Unit
35 Collins Street., Melbourne, 3000
Michael Roleff - Insurance Manager
Phone: (03) 7022 2309

Legal Division
Department of Education and Training
2 Treasury Place, East Melbourne, 3002 
Phone: (03) 9637-3146

Related policies

Department resources

For more information, including Certificates of Currency, and Insurance Arrangements Guidelines for Schools, see: Insurance - VMIA Insurance documents - schools and corporate