That's the way the money goes

23rd January 2004 at 00:00
Just because the Department for Education and Skills has given its chums at Capita another lucrative contract, doesn't mean it has to reduce the workload of colleges in the process.

In fact, FErret hears there will be lashings of unnecessary bureaucracy all round under the latest DfESCapita project, education maintenance allowances.

Means-tested EMA grants of up to pound;30 a week are paid to 16 to 19-year-olds in education as long as they turn up at college.

Colleges will be required to keep Capita updated about students' attendance each week- so that payments can be withheld from those who fail to show.

Capita, which has been appointed to run the EMA scheme as it goes national, suggested that a facility be set up for colleges to be able to transfer their attendance data electronically.

But the DfES has decided the national version of EMAs should not include such new-fangled technology.

So, when EMAs go national in September, all the data will be printed out from colleges'computer systems and then typed in again by hand so it can be sent to Capita. Thus, EMAs will take up plenty of hours of administrative staff time, with the prospect of payments being wrongly made or withheld because of typing errors.

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