City council PR boss Simon Caplan is cross-dressing again. For this week’s edition of PRs in their eyes Matthew, Simon’s going to be education spokeswoman Julie Walton. And what joyous news she brings under the catchy headline, “Council and schools move forward to seek partner organisation”:
Bristol City Council today announced the next steps towards working with an external partner to further drive up standards in schools, giving thousands of children a better start in life.
A better start in life for our children? Driving up standards in schools? Can’t argue with that. But what’s this “external partner” stuff about?
Ms Caplan explains:
Under the council’s Excellence for All programme, a leading UK children’s services support organisation will be recruited to work alongside the council’s own specialists.
“A leading UK children’s services support organisation”? … Or CONsultants as we usually call them … “to work alongside the council’s own specialists” … That’ll be Education Director Heather Tomlinson and her little gang of management losers won’t it?
Right. And how much are we spending on these external CONsultants to come in and run our education department because the current bunch of city council fat cat management no-hopers can’t?
Here’s Julie Caplan with the gory details:
“The contract with the external partner is expected to be in place for the start of the new school year in September 2009. It will run for six years, with the potential to extend it for a further two years, and be worth £15.1 million per year. The council’s investment is expected to be £6.3 million, matched by funding from schools.”
So that’s £90m of our money going to external CONsultants to do the job Education Director Heather Tomlinson (£120k pa) and her £1m a year senior management team should be doing already.
Meanwhile new political education boss Hopeless Hammond tells us:
“Head teachers have asked us to develop a coherent package of support services to schools from a single provider.”
Which is a straightforward description of a competent Local Education Authority isn’t it?
This latest news comes in just as the Blogger receives the latest expenditure details from the council’s education department. During the first six months of this financial year Heather & Co have already splashed £1.5m on CONsultants to do their jobs for them.
That includes money spent on – ho, ho, ho – “Leadership Development”; “Strategic Communications Project Consultancy”; “Strategic Consultancy from Barnardo’s” and “Strategic Strategy for Strategists” (I might have made that last one up).
So they’re already on target to spend £3m this year on CONsultants. Now we learn they’ll be spending a further £15m a year on them plus, of course, in excess of £1m a year on the current management team. That’s nearly £20m to get work done that should be the job of exceptionally well-paid in-house so-called “specialists”.
I wonder, will Heather and her team be taking a pay cut to reflect the fact that they have failed and will be doing precisely bugger all from now on? No sign of such an announcement from Kylie Caplan so far.