How schools cost us so much

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philbell
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How schools cost us so much

Post by philbell » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:45 pm

The Government is currently in the process of rebuilding all of the schools and either replacing them with academies or upgrading what currently exists with up to date facilities. This is fair enough, where the work needs doing,

In many cases though the councils are being given a huge wad of money to replace infrastructure where it is not needed, the councils then are using the money to consolidate several schools on 1 site and selling off the remaining land. This is like selling the family jewels in many cases, selling off the land now and having nothing to fall back on.

Another problem here is that as the upgrading occurs much of the facilities are being out sourced to private companies. The main area here is the ICT departments. There is a LOT of money in the pot here and companies who get a foot in the door tend to gain a monopoly and take the piss with their charges.

In my county companies such as CAPITA were given the buying rights for the whole county under certain schemes. One scheme was laptops for teachers, this meant that the money each school was awarded was pooled together (many millions) and they went out and sourced the cheapest option as a huge bulk buyer, hence supposedly saving many thousands of pounds of taxpayers money. They sourced these and supplied them at a cost of £800 each at the time (remember cheap cos of big bulk buyer). Our school received around 25 of them as did every other school in the county. As it happened we needed to order in 5 laptops for ourselves, so in order to keep all the models standard we went for the same model/spec/warranty etc. as a bulk buyer we got them for £350. this was within a week of the county order going in.

The same thing has happened this year. A similar scheme, laptops for pupils has been operating and again CAPITA was given the money. They have been sat on it for 18 months then offered us 39 laptops, somehow we opted out of the scheme as they had held the money for so long and bought 72 laptops (same spec but we had cashback warranty and they didn’t) and 16 macbooks for the same money????

We still have to fight against the county against using ‘preferred’ suppliers. These are always charging way over the odds for goods that we can get for a fraction of the price elsewhere. How can councillors tell me where to buy from? Or even the government when their suppliers are always so much more expensive? My guess is that big incentives are offered somewhere to become a preferred supplier. I do realise that there are buyers out there that will take the odd freebie in exchange for a sale but it is nothing like the companies that are going to take over in the long run.

The old days are returning, it is our money being wasted, don’t let it happen. If the outsourcing goes ahead you might as well put your money in my pocket (please do!!!)

Lad
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RE: How schools cost us so much

Post by Lad » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:28 pm

Interesting. I have heard bits about the contracts being given to private companies. It is something that stays out of the spotlight though, unless something particularly scandelous happens! Wasting money is what the government does best, so that isn't enough to get it up on the news. I assume you got that info from somewhere though, was that inside knowledge or have you some links?
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philbell
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RE: How schools cost us so much

Post by philbell » Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:59 am

It is inside knowledge that I can back up. Just the tip of the iceberg. I work for a county council and the amount of council tax money that is wasted makes me sick, on top of that the government gives them millions to play with on top. If there was a full breakdown of accounts then you might be surprised of the of the waste.

Our department was told that we had to spend £120k before March or the money would be lost. It had to be spent on 'things' rather than services or consumables which we needed. So the money was spent on things that weren't even needed by anyone but might come in handy at some point.

Why the hell do I have to pay £1000 or whatever council tax a year towards a pile of things that are sat in a cupboard for the next 6 months? The interest alone off the money would have covered several peoples council tax.

They have also wasted £2million on public consulation (so far, the argument is still on going) on decisions that were taken early last year?? It is all a sham in order to try to sway public opinion (which hasn't worked) but the original plan still goes ahead. What is the point in public consultation if the public are going to be ignored?? Despite the money spent there is still an 85% opinion against the proposals and they still go through. Where is the democracy in this country as I cannot see it.

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appleton
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RE: How schools cost us so much

Post by appleton » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:14 pm

Interesting topic. Can't see how I missed this.

You are right though money is being wasted in schools though. Especially places like ICT departments. This is true of colleges too.

They can't use open source programs such as Firefox etc... or the company that supplies them the computers and even Microsoft themselves can terminate the contract. I found this out myself when I asked why can't Firefox be installed at least as a option on college computers. That personally is ridiculous but its the contract terms of the companies the schools do deals with. The government as you say control who the schools can deal with and who they can't.

Freedom to choose no longer exists in the education system. You get what you are given! :icon_mad:
"Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back" - John Maynard Keynes

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