Headlines: March 12th, 1999

The Local Government Association’s bid to run failing local education authorities has been rejected by the Department for Education and Employment. Over 200 private, not for profit and public sector organisations offered to provide consultancy or to take over the authorities. Bidders who reached the ‘long list’ have been asked to improve their bids and they will be considered for the ‘short list’. The winners will be announced next month.

The Association is surprised that it failed to make the ‘long list’. There is particular concern that experts from the best authorities helping raise standards in schools will be excluded from the process. It is also concerned that the recently set up Improvement and Development Agency, which will help struggling councils improve their services, will be prevented from taking part in rescue operations in this area of education.