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IT News Thread, Schools "Wasting Millions" in Other News; BBC NEWS | Education | Schools 'may be wasting millions' Umm... then perhaps letting private companies charge way over the ...
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    Diello's Avatar
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    Schools "Wasting Millions"

    BBC NEWS | Education | Schools 'may be wasting millions'

    Umm... then perhaps letting private companies charge way over the odds for BSF contracts to help boost their profits is a bad idea!!

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    Batman's Avatar
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    We can't win!!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Yes, focus on schools paying too much for desks, whilst ignoring the millions being wasted on consultants and ridiculous buildings not up to being schools... Very clever.

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    BSF aside - the article is right.

    All of the financial and auditing procedures that are there to make sure tax payers money is well spent actually ends up wasting far more money by forcing schools not to procure best value and also wasting countless hours of staff time.

    It not right that Schools themselves should be blamed though when it is the procedures they are forced to adhere to by LEAs etc that are actually wasting money.

    It's mostly LEAs that are actually wasting this tax payers money. E.g if a school wants to have a partition built in the office so many hoops are put in my place to jump through that the school ends up just having to use the LEA building team / LEA official contractors and this is what ensures schools do not get best value, as the services the LEA offer are generally way off best value and often actually below par.

    Butuz

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @Butuz:

    spot on my young friend

    When I try to advise LA on hardware purchases which I myself have procured the first question asked is "What make is it" and when I tell them they say "Is that a Dell" or "is that an HP" I say no it is an Genuine Intel motherboard and core 2 duo processor but built in this country under license and comes with a 5 year onsite warranty.
    They say if it isn't a Dell or an HP then it can't be that good, to which I answer that I have used them for 6 years and the warranty alone outshines anything that the others could give for the money (which BTW amounts to nearly twice as much cost for the Brand products) so there is your good use of taxpayers money by the LA.

    But this is my story

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I agree with the comments about LA's being inefficient. We are pretty damn careful what we buy here, it can take a little longer than just going with the LA, but I can guarantee that I've saved us tens of thousands since I found my footing here.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Yep, most waste is through the LEA, or stupid government directives.
    Lets see:
    Centralised VLE costing hundreds of thousands which no schools use as its rubbish, caused by central gov targets and money thrown at the council.

    Workforce reforms meaning we employ an army of non teaching staff to do stuff teachers used to do, plus we empoy more teachers!

    Govt obsession with statistics and data collection, meaning an army of staff trying to generate this crap.

    Govt rather than giving schools money to spend as they see fit forces them to spend it on their latest pet project.

    Quite simple, give schools a fixed amount per pupil on role direct to the school, no strings attached and with no LEA control and you will save a fortune. Send the inspectors in unannounced with a free reign of what to inspect rather than the latest fad the gov wants them to look at and give them the powers to discipline SLT and Governors and you'll see a massive improvement in all areas!

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    broc's Avatar
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    The point made about schools holding onto money also does not tell the whole story. You should try being Chair of a school governors finance sub-committee to really see what goes on!

    Schools quite often have to save up money to pay for major projects, such as all-weather pitches, building modifications/refurbishment, sometimes even interior/exterior decoration for a big school. In the case of an all-weather pitch, these can cost upwards of £120,000 so it can take a number of years to acquire the money, but this shows as 'surplus' year on year the books, when it clearly is not. Prudent schools are being victimised....... this story is all part of softening up Education for budget cuts in the near future.

    I totally agree with the earlier points about best value; whenever I used to get quotes from our LA they were always more expensive than sourcing the goods/services elsewhere. I gave up eventually.

    I have also seen 'cheap' school furniture trashed in no time at all, whereas something costing maybe 20%-30% more lasting more than twice as long.

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    witch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    The point made about schools holding onto money also does not tell the whole story. You should try being Chair of a school governors finance sub-committee to really see what goes on!

    Schools quite often have to save up money to pay for major projects, such as all-weather pitches, building modifications/refurbishment, sometimes even interior/exterior decoration for a big school. In the case of an all-weather pitch, these can cost upwards of £120,000 so it can take a number of years to acquire the money, but this shows as 'surplus' year on year the books, when it clearly is not. Prudent schools are being victimised....... this story is all part of softening up Education for budget cuts in the near future.
    As a school governor I totally agree - we have been told that anything left at the end of the year over about 5% will be clawed back, even though we can tell the LA EXACTLY what we are saving for and roughly how much it will be. Ridiculous situation. One of the schools I work in has been told that it must use the Harnessing IT money, which it was allowed to carry over in April, by the end of term. As it happens, I am getting a new server out of it but I really wanted to save up for some other things due to come on- stream soon.
    As for buying things through the LA - I don't. Ever. I don't particularly like the companies they recommend, and as Bossman says, they won't listen when you tell them about a good company that will build exactly want you want and give good guarantees as well.

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    Yep, schools have trouble to do long term planning with this claw back. Overspend on certain things in some years to make sure that have money normally allocated elsewhere to pay for building / refurb / IT work ... not sustainable!

    I would also point out that LAs vary (on the defensive now) and I get a heap of schools *wanting* the LA to make decisions for them about hardware / software etc ... and we don't have a team that does that anymore ... partly off-loading of decisions and blame management.

    As always, there is some serious school / LA / Central Govt politics here!

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    There's some good news in the report for Network Managers

    I read the Guardian report, saying that schools could save £110M on ICT spend. But turns out the Audit Commission report actually said £110M on NON-ICT spend!

    So I went on to read further, and it actually talks about the positive model of schools having IT technicians and generating income from sharing them amongst schools.

    Quick summary of it on the blog - along with a recommendation of which bits to get the highlighter pen to before passing to the head

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    broc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayfleming View Post
    So I went on to read further, and it actually talks about the positive model of schools having IT technicians and generating income from sharing them amongst schools.
    It's a shame Partnership for Schools hadn't seen this report before they came up with their masterplan for school ICT support....

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    It's a shame Partnership for Schools hadn't seen this report before they came up with their masterplan for school ICT support....
    If I was cyncial I would say that P4S has seen this report and they're already formatting a rebuttal.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    If I was cyncial I would say that P4S has seen this report and they're already formatting a rebuttal.
    Being cynical already, i'd suggest that they'll actually be crafting a statement which agrees with it, and uses various sly and carefully worded sentences which state that this is what they've been doing all along...

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    torledo's Avatar
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    It also suggested schools should ask themselves hard questions about their staffing levels in the light of the falling pupil numbers.

    Teacher numbers have grown in England by 32,000 since 1997 and there has been a massive expansion in the number of teaching assistants and support staff.
    now that bit of summarization i found interesting. The all important wage bill.

    'schools could be wasting £110 million on teachers and their pensions'. Now that's a headline you'll never see, even if it were true.

    There seems to be a lot of talk about public sector austerity, i hardly think implementing more beuracracy to come up with more efficient spending processes is going to make the required difference...., not if the rate of increase on spending is to slow, and staff in schools don't want to see decreases in their income in real terms.

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