Book News: July 28th, 2009

This Audit Commission review of how schools procure goods and services concluded that it can’t be sure whether the taxpayer is getting value for money. The Commission is critical of school inspectors, governors and local councils.

The English primary and secondary schools’ bill topped £31 billion in 2007/08, an increase of 56 per cent in real terms over the last decade. The report calculates that schools could save £400 million a year if they bought equipment and services more sensibly. Schools are also sitting on cash reserves of nearly £2 billion, with two out of five schools transferring across year on year more than the recommended amount.

Criticism is reserved for school inspectors who are focused on educational standards and what teachers do, which is necessary, but not the whole story. They pay less attention to economy and efficiency. Many school governors could be tougher in seeking value for the public purse and councils pay insufficient attention to value for money in their support of schools.

The report is available from the Commission.