Councils ‘should monitor academy cash’

The BBC is reporting that academy budgets should be overseen by local authorities following a series of financial abuses, say council leaders.

Cash earmarked for education in England is too often “disappearing into the back pockets of those in charge”, says the Local Government Association.

Current scrutiny is ineffective, leaving the media and whistleblowers to uncover fraud, argues the LGA.

The government says academies and free schools are subject to greater scrutiny than council-run schools.

Council leaders are urging Education Secretary Justine Greening to restore local oversight of all school finances “providing democratic accountability so that parents and communities can be confident their children aren’t missing out”.

They say the Education Funding Agency, the official body responsible for the financial oversight of academies and free schools, lacks the capacity “to provide the level of scrutiny necessary to ensure value for money and catch out fraudsters”.

More at: Councils ‘should monitor academy cash’

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Categories: 1st POST, Academies and Resources.

Comments

  1. Nairb1

    Many years ago, when I was a headteacher, we had a child in school who was badly behaved in an irritating rather than disruptive manner. When his misbehaviour was uncovered or spotted his response was to say clearly and consistently ‘No I didn’t ‘ He would never admit to anything even when caught in the act. His parents’ response was always ‘If he says he didn’t do it then he didn’t.’
    I am sure he is now a senior official at the DfE. Whenever an issue is raised the DfE issues a ‘No it isn’t’ statement. This is now a consistent pattern. Shortage of school places. ‘No!bWe’ve provided plenty of places.’ Free nursery education costing providers money. ‘No! We’ve provided plenty of funds.’ And now … academies at risk of fraud due to poor oversight, relying on media and whistleblower exposure. ‘No! There is better insight than LA schools.’ But there are an increasing number of examples of fraud and dubious financial practices. ‘No there aren’t.’ But here are some examples. ‘La,la,la,la’ la’. Cue parent, in the guise of Secretary of State, with the ‘If we say it isn’t happening then it isn’t’ response.
    I see the DfE also, in the BBC report’ repeats its claim that they will intervene much more quickly than LA’s in failing schools. I wrote to the previous SoS and asked exactly what that meant. She replied that they would quickly remove the headteacher and other senior leaders. If only LA’s could develop such a subtle, well-thought through and sophisticated model of school improvement.

  2. Julie_Cordiner

    They will need to provide funding then – Education Services Grant, which funds financial services among others, is disappearing from Sept 2017 and the LA will only be able to recover it from LA maintained schools, for specified services. Guess who will do the specifying? DfE, who hate LAs.
    On a side note, who came to the rescue for the academy that burned down? The LA, not DfE.

  3. Nairb1 Heard on TV yesterday that one of the causes of the fall in A*-C grades in England was that this year’s cohort was generally of lower ability than in previous years.  Cue cull of heads and senior leaders in schools where results have dipped – no matter what the ability level of pupils, the teachers will always be to blame for any fall.  No wonder schools where results are likely to be low (eg in disadvantaged areas, non-selective schools in selective areas) find it difficult to recruit.

  4. Much financial mismanagement in academy trusts is revealed by whistleblowers.  This indicates the system of oversight isn’t working well.  The EFA has had to cut staff while at the same time as overseeing more academies.   Is it really feasible that EFA staff will conscientiously read thousands of academy trust accounts?  A superficial skim, if that, will be all that’s possible.  And even if accounts are squeaky clean, a recent court case revealed how parent companies of academy trusts can profit from their involvement under noses of EFA.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2016/08/how-to-profit-from-running-an-academy-under-dfe-radar

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