19 Nov 10

DfE & BIS: Why are you spending our money like this?

The Government has published detailed spending data for its departments in what has been described as a "tsunami of data". Apparently, the Government plans to abolish professional scrutineers like the Audit Commission and replace them with an "army of armchair auditors".

It will take the "army" including the public and the media some time to sift through it all, but some interesting data are emerging.

According to The Guardian, "private firms are profiting from the setting up state schools. Millions of pounds have been paid to consultants for their work on academies and encouraging parents to set up their own free schools".

"Place Group received £1.46 million in the coalition's first five months for work commissioned before the election. It has now secured contracts to work with two free schools. Appleyards received £2.9 million and will support two proposed free schools, helping to develop the business case for a Montessori primary school in Crawley, west Sussex, and a Sikh free school in Birmingham. Cambridge Education was paid £1.1 million for work predating the election; it will now work with a free school, the King's science academy in Bradford."

"A DfE spokesman said: 'We have introduced significant restrictions on spending on consultants so that only the most essential spending can proceed, subject to ministerial and Cabinet Office approval'."

Is spending any money on consultants, even if 'significantly restricted', especially in these times of cuts and austerity "really essential"?

That money could have been spent on staff and resources to benefit children's education.

And what about the Education Secretary's recent participation in the "Trade mission to China"?

According to the BBC, "£4,700 was spent on a chocolate team-building event by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills". So students will be know when they pay their tuition fees that the department responsible for universities is spending its money wisely.

What exactly is "a chocolate team-building event"? Building a team out of chocolate?! Building team spirit by eating chocolate?!

Government spending data by department can be found here or here.

Do let us know if you spot anything you feel is a waste of taxpayers' money

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