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MP wants top quality financial advice for schools

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has called on education bosses at county hall to make sure Norfolk schools receive the highest quality financial advice, in order to avoid a repeat of 2005’s school budget ‘clawback’ fiasco.

Mr Bacon was speaking as the Commons public accounts committee published its report into Improving Poorly Performing Schools in England. The report finds that schools will need access to financial management expertise if they are to gain full benefit from the new, simplified three-year budgets that were introduced in April this year.

In September 2005, Norfolk County Council announced a ‘clawback’ of some £3.5 million from school budgets.  For some schools this amounted to over £100,000 and caused outrage amongst headteachers, who complained they were being penalised for sound financial management. 

Mr Bacon said: “The £3.5 million ‘clawback’ from school budgets exposed serious weaknesses in the financial advice offered to Norfolk’s schools by the Local Education Authority.  In my constituency alone the scandal caused two highly experienced heads to resign in protest.

“For schools to benefit from simplified budgets, the LEA must make sure the advice it gives is of the highest quality.  Norfolk’s schools cannot afford to receive poor financial advice”.

17 October 2006

See also:
Arrow PAC REPORT: Improving poorly performing schools