Bureaucrats won't get a penny, says Miliband

22nd November 2002 at 00:00
All the promised extra pound;12.8bn will go to the frontline, says 'new boy' minister. Jon Slater and Karen Thornton report.

NOT a single penny of the extra pound;12.8 billion allocated to education by the Treasury will find its way to civil servants in Whitehall, ministers have pledged.

The commitment will require the Department for Education and Skills to exercise a "self-denying ordinance", to ensure that it does not touch the extra cash - being paid over three years - according to school standards minister David Miliband.

Over the years covered by the latest Treasury spending plans ( April 2003 to 2006), the department's share of total education spending will decline, he told the Teacher Training Agency's annual general meeting this week.

"We are not going to have a single penny of that extra money. Every penny is going out to the frontline."

Administration costs at the DfES rose from pound;240 million in 19989 (when it was the Department for Education and Employment) to pound;261m in 20012, but they are planned to fall to pound;251m this year.

Mr Miliband said: "My sense, as the new boy in this area, is the sort of education system we are developing... (will be) marked by empowerment of the frontline and a more intelligent accountability structure....that sort of system will require structural and cultural change in the DfES."

A department that sees its role as overseeing the running schools, will have to adopt a new focus on building local capacity, freeing those on the ground to deliver high-quality education. That means more "nurturing" and less "command and control", he continued.

In practice, schools will be given more freedom over how the extra cash is spent.

Helen Williams, director of the DfES school organisation and funding group, told a conference this week that the Government would freeze the total amount of money tied to specific projects until the current spending plans ended in 2006. But she denied that would hamper the planned expansion in the number of specialist schools.

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