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Consultants act to shape up failing authorities;Review of the year;News

The private sector made further in-roads into education this year as at least eight local authorities were told to use their services.

Nord Anglia won the contract to run two of Hackney's services after inspectors returned to the London borough council to discover there had not been substantial improvement in the previous 12 months.

KPMG was appointed by ministers to draft a report on the privatisation of Liverpool's services. Meanwhile, Bob Clark, the chief education officer from Wigan drafted in as temporary expedient, set about its reorganisation. By the time the consultants had done their work, it was unclear whether any services still needed the assistance of the private sector.

By midsummer, inspectors had reported that services in the London borough of Islington were in a dire state. The race to win the pound;17 million a year take-over contract was won by Cambridge Education Associates.

However, the inspectors who reported on Calderdale found that matters had improved somewhat since The Ridings school and did not recommend the private sector solution.

The London borough of Southwark has been ordered to work with consultants on the privatising of its services. In addition, Leicester East, Walsall, Bristol and the London borough of Haringey have agreed to work with consultants on improving the efficiency of their services.

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