Schools to pay back £466,000

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Concerned councillor David Ward Concerned councillor David Ward

Bradford Council is demanding 18 thrifty schools and nurseries pay back nearly £500,000 of unspent funds.

The request was today branded “appalling” and a “slap in the face for schools” by councillors.

In a letter to elected members, Cindy Peek, the Coun-cil’s deputy director of children’s services, said the authority and Education Bradford came to the decision after holding a “rigorous internal process”.

A total of £466,095 will be clawed back. Schools and nurseries affected include Carlton Bolling College in Undercliffe which faces losing more than £168,000, Lilycroft Primary in Mann-ingham (£30,000), Lowerfields Primary in Fenby Avenue, Bradford, (£23,000) and Keighley St Andrew’s Primary (£1,538).

Mrs Peek wrote: “Local authorities can claw back surplus balances from schools which exceed the DCSF recommended limit of five per cent for secondary schools and eight per cent for all other schools where the Governing Body of the school has not assigned the excess surplus above the limit for specific purposes.”

Each school and nursery has the right to appeal.

Councillor David Ward, Liberal Democrat education spokesman and a Carlton Bolling College governor, said: “This is money they were given to spend on educating their pupils. There is no way it should be taken back. This is a slap in the face for these schools, some of which are in the most deprived areas of the district. This is disgraceful.”

Labour education spokes-man Coun Ralph Berry said: “This is an appalling decision. It undermines the independence of schools and is basically a front to bail the Council out of problems elsewhere.”

Alan Jarvis, Education Bradford’s Head of School Funding, said: “Schools which anticipated holding balances in excess of the five and eight per cent limit were required to provide details of projects which had been approved by their governing bodies which would bring these surpluses in line with DCSF requirements and support pupil attainment.

“The majority of schools provided the required information but 18 schools did not meet the set criteria. As a result, the authority has made a decision to claw back £466,000 from these 18 schools.”

Comments (6)

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8:28am Thu 16 Oct 08

Lord Wibsey says...

The Council never seem to reward people who are thrifty with rate payers money or good with their budgets. The ones who win every time are those who overspend and leave the Council with a financial deficit. We need people running the Council to have some knowledge of how to manage a budget.
The Council never seem to reward people who are thrifty with rate payers money or good with their budgets. The ones who win every time are those who overspend and leave the Council with a financial deficit. We need people running the Council to have some knowledge of how to manage a budget. Lord Wibsey
  • Score: 0

9:54am Thu 16 Oct 08

Duke of Odsal says...

If you read the article it is clear that the schools in question failed to provide the necessary assurances that they had a good use for the money. Are we actually suggesting that it is a good thing that a school amass a huge fund for no real reason? It has amassed that fund by curbing spending in some way or making profits somehow. I am all for schools being frugal when there is an aim (such as buying more school equipment or other investment in the schools facilities) but lets not forget that the money they are saving is taxpayers money, and I for one want that money to be used to maximum benefit. Sticking it in a bank account wont help with kids education. The system as it stands DOES reward good financial management, but in the case of public funds allocated to a school, good financial management does not mean accruing a vast fortune.
If you read the article it is clear that the schools in question failed to provide the necessary assurances that they had a good use for the money. Are we actually suggesting that it is a good thing that a school amass a huge fund for no real reason? It has amassed that fund by curbing spending in some way or making profits somehow. I am all for schools being frugal when there is an aim (such as buying more school equipment or other investment in the schools facilities) but lets not forget that the money they are saving is taxpayers money, and I for one want that money to be used to maximum benefit. Sticking it in a bank account wont help with kids education. The system as it stands DOES reward good financial management, but in the case of public funds allocated to a school, good financial management does not mean accruing a vast fortune. Duke of Odsal
  • Score: 0

11:38am Thu 16 Oct 08

Johsay says...

They have to claw back the overspend on the IT system somehow.
They have to claw back the overspend on the IT system somehow. Johsay
  • Score: 0

1:37pm Thu 16 Oct 08

lanzaman says...

If the surplus were being used to educate the pupils that may be acceptable. However, I am informed that throughout the local authority the surplus, has in the past been spent on trips for the staff, including spa days! Get the money back as long as its put to better use and not on civic receptions
If the surplus were being used to educate the pupils that may be acceptable. However, I am informed that throughout the local authority the surplus, has in the past been spent on trips for the staff, including spa days! Get the money back as long as its put to better use and not on civic receptions lanzaman
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Thu 16 Oct 08

Dr Evil says...

Duke of Odsal wrote:
If you read the article it is clear that the schools in question failed to provide the necessary assurances that they had a good use for the money. Are we actually suggesting that it is a good thing that a school amass a huge fund for no real reason? It has amassed that fund by curbing spending in some way or making profits somehow. I am all for schools being frugal when there is an aim (such as buying more school equipment or other investment in the schools facilities) but lets not forget that the money they are saving is taxpayers money, and I for one want that money to be used to maximum benefit. Sticking it in a bank account wont help with kids education. The system as it stands DOES reward good financial management, but in the case of public funds allocated to a school, good financial management does not mean accruing a vast fortune.
Duke, you are wrong. these schools have prudently amassed a capital 'cushion' to protect them against the inevitable bad times; exactly what we are all criticising the government for not doing! How can the Council' actions be right?
[quote][p][bold]Duke of Odsal[/bold] wrote: If you read the article it is clear that the schools in question failed to provide the necessary assurances that they had a good use for the money. Are we actually suggesting that it is a good thing that a school amass a huge fund for no real reason? It has amassed that fund by curbing spending in some way or making profits somehow. I am all for schools being frugal when there is an aim (such as buying more school equipment or other investment in the schools facilities) but lets not forget that the money they are saving is taxpayers money, and I for one want that money to be used to maximum benefit. Sticking it in a bank account wont help with kids education. The system as it stands DOES reward good financial management, but in the case of public funds allocated to a school, good financial management does not mean accruing a vast fortune.[/p][/quote]Duke, you are wrong. these schools have prudently amassed a capital 'cushion' to protect them against the inevitable bad times; exactly what we are all criticising the government for not doing! How can the Council' actions be right? Dr Evil
  • Score: 0

9:17am Fri 17 Oct 08

Duke of Odsal says...

Dr Evil wrote:
Duke of Odsal wrote: If you read the article it is clear that the schools in question failed to provide the necessary assurances that they had a good use for the money. Are we actually suggesting that it is a good thing that a school amass a huge fund for no real reason? It has amassed that fund by curbing spending in some way or making profits somehow. I am all for schools being frugal when there is an aim (such as buying more school equipment or other investment in the schools facilities) but lets not forget that the money they are saving is taxpayers money, and I for one want that money to be used to maximum benefit. Sticking it in a bank account wont help with kids education. The system as it stands DOES reward good financial management, but in the case of public funds allocated to a school, good financial management does not mean accruing a vast fortune.
Duke, you are wrong. these schools have prudently amassed a capital 'cushion' to protect them against the inevitable bad times; exactly what we are all criticising the government for not doing! How can the Council' actions be right?
As far as I am aware there are strict rules governing the size of what you refer to as a "capital cushion". I agree that it is prudent to have reserves, and the financial regulations no doubt allow that. What is at issue is the size of that cushion, and under current rules the schools concerned have exceeded the limit without having good reasons (i.e. a plan to invest) for that additional fund. The regulations are there to protect the taxpayer from being mislead into overfunding the council, which is what would happen if the council were not able to claw back underutilised financial resources. Of course thats not to say that I have any faith in the ability of the council to use the money any more effectively, but I am at least pleased to see that they are applying and policing the financial rules that they are obliged under law to adhere to.
[quote][p][bold]Dr Evil[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Duke of Odsal[/bold] wrote: If you read the article it is clear that the schools in question failed to provide the necessary assurances that they had a good use for the money. Are we actually suggesting that it is a good thing that a school amass a huge fund for no real reason? It has amassed that fund by curbing spending in some way or making profits somehow. I am all for schools being frugal when there is an aim (such as buying more school equipment or other investment in the schools facilities) but lets not forget that the money they are saving is taxpayers money, and I for one want that money to be used to maximum benefit. Sticking it in a bank account wont help with kids education. The system as it stands DOES reward good financial management, but in the case of public funds allocated to a school, good financial management does not mean accruing a vast fortune.[/p][/quote]Duke, you are wrong. these schools have prudently amassed a capital 'cushion' to protect them against the inevitable bad times; exactly what we are all criticising the government for not doing! How can the Council' actions be right? [/p][/quote]As far as I am aware there are strict rules governing the size of what you refer to as a "capital cushion". I agree that it is prudent to have reserves, and the financial regulations no doubt allow that. What is at issue is the size of that cushion, and under current rules the schools concerned have exceeded the limit without having good reasons (i.e. a plan to invest) for that additional fund. The regulations are there to protect the taxpayer from being mislead into overfunding the council, which is what would happen if the council were not able to claw back underutilised financial resources. Of course thats not to say that I have any faith in the ability of the council to use the money any more effectively, but I am at least pleased to see that they are applying and policing the financial rules that they are obliged under law to adhere to. Duke of Odsal
  • Score: 0
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