The TES is reporting that another academy chain has come under the spotlight after paying almost £440,000 to IT and clerking companies owned by its chief executive and his daughter.
The Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT), which sponsors 21 primary and secondary schools across Yorkshire, has paid £316,489 to an IT firm belonging to its chief executive Mike Ramsay, its annual accounts reveal. A two-year contract worth £123,012 was also awarded to HDR services, a company owned by the chief executive’s daughter, for clerking work, the academy chain’s accounts reveal.
But the WCAT insists that the spending was done through a competitive tendering process.
In 2013/14 and 2014/15, the trust paid Hi-Tech Group Ltd, Mr Ramsay’s company, to deliver a management information system. The trust says the business won a competitive tender. The next nearest tender was more than £1 million more expensive than Hi-Tech, WCAT said.
A statement from WCAT said: “Internal vetting procedures established the contract represented best value in terms of quality of service compared to other ICT support services at other schools. It also represented a financial saving of £38,150 per annum to the Trust.
“The other two contracts with HDR and Hi-Tech Group were put out to tender. Both were the subject of internal and external audits and scrutiny from an Education Funding Agency’s Governance and Financial Compliance focussed inspection.
“Any inference that proper processes were not followed would be wholly inaccurate.”
Do you agree that using the companies in question was a good business decision to save money, or should they not have used a company with such close ties to the CEO? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie