Headlines: July 11th, 2000

A major new partnership initiative has been announced to stave off further threats to the local education authorities that oversee the running of state schools in England and Wales.Under pressure from Labour to hand more and more powers direct to schools, threatened with all-but extinction by the Conservatives, and criticised in a recent OFSTED report, LEAs must turn around the perception that they are bureaucratic and inefficient.

One of the chief supporters of maintaining local education authorities as powerful elements of local government is the Local Government Association.

It has announced a partnership with the IDeA, a Government-funded agency to improve local government, and the private sector company CAPITA, to offer consultancy support to all 172 LEAs.

The remit of the new partnership will initially be to offer consultancy support to enable LEAs to deliver improved educational standards and services.

It’s an alternative concept to the decision taken in a handful of pilot areas to hand the services of an individual LEA to a private consortium.

The deal could go much further than offering CAPITA an in-road into more work with LEAs, as the detail of the partnership extends to offering councils support in a broad range of administrative, support and customer-focused services, such as member training, advice on achieving best value and interim management