Chips out as council slims directorate

24th July 1998 at 01:00
The director of education will no longer carry the can for the standard of school chips under plans in Dumfries and Galloway to strip support services from the education department.

School meals are top of the menu to be prised from education department control and could be transferred elsewhere as early as September. Five key support services could be removed from education managers in a move intended to release them to concentrate on their main function of raising classroom standards.

Officials believe other departments should run services such as catering, cleaning, transport, bursaries and supplies. Responsibility for buildings and sports grounds could also be passed to others - and, more contentiously, staffing. Detailed reports on each area will be drafted over the next six months.

Fraser Sanderson, the council's acting director of education, said the department would be left to oversee strategic planning and policy, staff and curriculum development, and quality assurance. Ian Smith, the chief executive, said they had to be "very clear indeed what our core education service is, what is being spent and where". He estimated savings could top Pounds 250,000.

But Tom McAughtrie, Labour education convener in the former regional council, believed the changes would lead to job losses. "We should start at the top and not at the bottom. We could scrap the posts of three directors and several senior managers and save Pounds 500,000 a year. I do not see how this promotes best value," he said.

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