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Admin costs to rise

Spending on government bureaucracy will increase by pound;8 million next year despite ministers' pledges to ensure that more money gets through to schools.

The Department for Education and Skills' administration costs will increase from pound;237m this year to pound;245m in 20056, according to its annual report.

This year's Budget promised real savings of 5 per cent in DfES admin costs by 2008. Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, said this would be achieved through a 31 per cent reduction in DfES staff and savings from new technology.

Staff numbers will fall next year to 4,100 from a planned 4,200 this year and 4,500 in 20034.

Two years ago, David Miliband, schools minister, promised that civil servants would not receive "a single penny" of the additional money promised to education.

DfES admin costs then rose from pound;226m to pound;243m before a planned reduction this year. A spokeswoman said costs would fall after the next three-year spending period begins in 20056.

But Chris Keates, acting general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, expressed concerns about the proposed staffing cuts. "We work closely with civil servants on the school workforce agreement. And their burden is heavy. Rather than there being a proliferation of staff there is a shortage in some areas," she said.

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