Council could 'claw back' thousands of pounds in education funding from schools

Councillor Malcolm Sykes

Councillor Malcolm Sykes

First published in News

BRADFORD Council could attempt to "claw back" thousands of pounds in education funding that is currently being unused by the district's schools.

At a meeting of the council's executive today, members were due to hear of schools and other education providers that have not complied with Council rules for schools that have excess balances.

Schools are currently allowed to keep a surplus balance in their account of four per cent (secondary schools) or six per cent (all other schools).

The authority has a Surplus Balances Protocol, which requires schools to assign the value of their balances above this amount to particular schemes or projects to make sure budgets are being spent on children's education, and are not just going unused in school reserves.

The executive will hear of four schools who have not complied with this portfolio, and they could either have the money clawed back to council funds, be sent warning letters or forced to settle the issue "as a priority."

The biggest pot of money currently looked at belongs to the council's Pupil Referral Unit - which teaches children expelled or excluded from other schools. The unit has money in its reserves worth £274,183, intended to build a new unit. Although the executive has been advised to allow the PRU to keep the money, it will be told the issue needs to be discussed "as a priority."

The council's Education in Hospital, which provides schooling for hospitalised children, and TRACKS service, which teaches children with a fear of school, have £129,431 in their balance that has not been properly allocated. Their management committee was given one month, ending tomorrow, to submit a plan on how they plan to spend these reserves. The report to executive says: "If a plan is not submitted, the council is recommended to clawback the full value."

Thorpe Primary School is also likely to have to pay back thousands to the authority. It has £17,070 in surplus balance and the executive has been advised to clawback £2,969 of this. Crossflats Primary School has £1,244 of revenue balances, although the council is likely to let the school off with a warning letter.

Cllr Malcolm Sykes sits on the Schools Financial Performance Group, which made the recommendations, and said: "With Crossflatts it was such a small amount we thought it would be a bit petty to try and claw it back, but we will send a warning letter.

"I do think the group should show its teeth a bit more when it comes to some schools."

Comments (2)

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6:58am Tue 22 Jul 14

Albion. says...

If all the money was held in a central account, the council would benefit from the interest and would have better control of and access to the excess money.
If all the money was held in a central account, the council would benefit from the interest and would have better control of and access to the excess money. Albion.
  • Score: 1

10:23am Tue 22 Jul 14

markjoe says...

What very misleading headline! So under the scheme the council run departments would pay back £403,614 whereas the schools mentioned would pay back £4,213 which is just over 1% of the money the council departments are hoarding. Maybe a better headline would be council could claw back thousands from council departments. Taking this surplus into account along with the £180,000 saving from the departing executive thats over half million surplus to be spent. Surely this could be used to keep the swimming pools and toilets open, even with the £274k+ allocated for building the new PRU unit?
What very misleading headline! So under the scheme the council run departments would pay back £403,614 whereas the schools mentioned would pay back £4,213 which is just over 1% of the money the council departments are hoarding. Maybe a better headline would be council could claw back thousands from council departments. Taking this surplus into account along with the £180,000 saving from the departing executive thats over half million surplus to be spent. Surely this could be used to keep the swimming pools and toilets open, even with the £274k+ allocated for building the new PRU unit? markjoe
  • Score: 6

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