DfE summoned by MPs to explain its ‘struggle’ over financial management

The TES is reporting that the DfE’s top civil servant has been summoned to face MPs over concerns about the department’s “struggle to get its act together” over finances.

The Commons Education Select Committee’s concerns came today after the department had to extend the 31 January deadline for laying its accounts before Parliament. 

But officials at the DfE have used a statutory instrument to give themselves an extra three months.

The move has led Neil Carmichael, who chairs the education committee, to summon the DfE’s permanent secretary to explain the reasons for the delay.

“Government departments have 10 months to get their accounts in order and laid before Parliament for proper public scrutiny, and most manage with far less,” the Conservative MP said.

“Slipping out a statutory instrument to extend the deadline on the last possible day is further evidence of DfE’s struggle to get its act together on financial matters. 

“The Committee agreed in December to invite the permanent secretary to explain the department’s plans for academy accounts. Today’s events leave us with no alternative but to consider the wider question of financial management at the DfE…”

More at: DfE summoned by MPs to explain its ‘struggle’ over financial management

 

See more on this from the Education Select Committee at: Department for Education extends deadline for publishing accounts

 

Not a great sign – any thoughts on the significance of what’s happening here in terms of academy accounts?

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Yet more evidence, were it required, that DfE cannot be trusted? I don’t understand how the rules don’t seem to apply to DfE

  2. The National Audit Office has ‘qualified’ DfE accounts for two years running.  That means the NAO wasn’t happy with them.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/01/national-audit-office-pans-dfe-accounts-deeply-concerned-about-error-and-uncertainty
    Extending the deadline for submitting the accounts suggests the NAO isn’t going to be happy for a third year running.

  3. andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Probably fearing another NAO panning (see above).
    DfE likes to hide some of its spending.  For example, it’s only just released costs of transferring 23 academies after a Court ruled it must.  I’ve written about it here:  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2016/01/exclusive-3m-the-cost-to-taxpayer-of-transferring-23-academies

  4. Julie_Cordiner

    Good work Janet. We’re details disclosed of exactly what this extraordinary sum was spent on? Sounding like the football transfer market!

  5. Julie_Cordiner I asked only for ‘transfer’ costs.  I assume this covers grants etc handed to incoming sponsors to persuade them to take over academies.  Seven of these were actually ‘nil’.  The most expensive was Winsford Academy which cost £534,000 to transfer over to the Fallibroome Academy.  Winsford was one of the E-Act academies which E-Act was told to give up after damning Ofsted judgements and the discovery that E-Act was operating in a culture of extravagance.  
    I’ve put in another FoI request to reveal the cost of the 100+ academies which had changed hands up to August 2015.  https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cost_of_transfer_of_academies_up#

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