Of course, we need to ensure that public money is spent responsibly, but it’s hard to make the case of ‘excessive’ CEO pay without understanding the context of each trust, writes one education expert in Tes.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee is right to report on academy finances. In particular, the recommendation that the Department for Education should tighten the rules in the next version of the Academies Financial Handbook, expected in July 2018, to prevent academies from entering into related-party transactions without approval from Education and Skills Funding Agency is very welcome.
However, the language of “excessive salaries” related to CEO pay is not helpful, as it creates the impression that executive pay in the academies sector is out of control. It is not.
Why do we benchmark public sector pay in this way?
It is obviously the case that this is public money. And we need to ensure that any public money is spent responsibly and that the outcomes are for the common good.
But it is hard to make the case that salaries are “excessive” without understanding the context of each trust – the size of the trust being one consideration. Multi-academy trusts can be large, complex organisations, although not all are.
Strong governance is essential in the commercial, public and third sectors, but it is arguably most important in the public sector, where we are ultimately accountable to the people and communities we serve.
The notion of public service needs to be reclaimed and celebrated in our sector. School leaders are in the business of public service – our moral and ethical accountabilities are very significant, considering that we are responsible for the education of the children and young people of the nation. There can be no greater call to service.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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