DfES found wanting on waste

9th February 2007 at 00:00
The Department for Education and Skills is bottom of a government league table for its lack of progress in efficiency savings.

It was supposed to be introducing measures to reduce its spending by Pounds 4.35billion as part of a cross-Whitehall drive to cut waste. But the National Audit Office reported this week that, halfway through its three-year efficiency programme, the department had only made 28 per cent of its proposed savings.

The figure is lower than any other department, particularly the Department for Work and Pensions, which had achieved 90 per cent of its savings.

The audit office rebuked the DfES less than two months ago for a steep rise in its spending on private consultants. This week it cast doubt over efficiency measures the department claimed it had already introduced. Of the two projects it looked at in detail, it found that neither of the savings figures reported were fair.

The department's claim that it had saved pound;21million from its higher education information technology budget was rated red, which means "the measures used either do not yet demonstrate efficiencies, or the reported gains may be substantially incorrect".

In the report, Professor Colin Talbot of Manchester Business School also raised doubts over the pound;1.29billion the department said it could save through more productive working. "There is hardly any discussion about how such a monumental change is to be achieved and, crucially, measured," he said.

Ofsted is also cutting its budget by a third as part of the efficiency drive. Christine Gilbert, chief inspector of the body, admitted this week that she had not known about the cuts when she accepted the job in October 2006.

Senior inspectors have complained that the use of lighter-touch inspections has been driven more by cost-cutting than respect for teachers'

professionalism.

Ms Gilbert told a NASUWT teachers' union conference that she had been stunned to receive numerous complaints over the past three months from teachers whose lessons had not been observed when inspectors visited.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now