Serco payment errors ‘put pupils at risk’ school governor claims

The BBC is reporting claims that payment defaults by a private firm with a county council contract put primary school pupils at risk and led to repossessions.

Serco took over a £70m, five-year contract to run Lincolnshire County Council’s HR and finance support services last April.

Errors led to wages being unpaid, school phone lines being cut and sanitary facilities repossessed.

The company said it is working hard to clear outstanding payments.

Winchelsea Primary School in Ruskington said its phone lines were cut after payments were missed by Serco.

Terry Boston, vice-chair of the board of school governors, said the action could have put pupils at risk.

“I do feel its put the children in danger,” he said.

“We need to be able to call the police, we need to be able to call the fire brigade, we need to be able to call parents but if the telephones are taken off us we are in a serious mess.”

“If there had been a major incident, I don’t know what would have happened,” he said.

Mr Boston called for the county council to consider cancelling Serco’s contract.

He said: “In any kind of business if somebody isn’t performing… you would get rid of them.”

“It is incompetence at the highest level.”

The deal is supposed to save the authority £14m, but many schools have complained about staff wages being incorrect and suppliers not being paid.

A business manager at another school, who asked to remain anonymous, described the situation as “appalling” and said she was working 70 hours a week “to put out the fires started by Serco”…

More at: Serco payment errors ‘put pupils at risk’ school governor claims


A case perhaps of the anticipated savings being a bit too good to be true?

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  1. The chaos Serco’s caused in Lincolnshire has been known since the middle of last year.  But still it continues.
    Gove, remember, said before the 2010 election he would let groups like Serco run schools.  If Lincolnshire’s experience and Cornwall’s with its out-of-hours health service then groups like Serco should be kept well away from schools.

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