Friday, 16 July 2010

local decisions about local schools...............

We are still trying to get a handle on the costs of the BSF programme in Sefton. It must go down as one of the most costly and bizarre procurement process by any government. As Jonathan Calder has pointed out:

Private Eye has long been a convincing critic of this programme. Its current issue says that Gove's department
has finally acknowledged what the Eye has been saying for several years: that BSF is far too complicated and costly for its own good.
Deals signed under the programme since 2005, along with other PFI schools, already cost the education budget more than £700m a year (enough to run 70 large secondary schools), and that's without the tens of millions in fees charged by consultants.
The Eye goes on to say that this "£700m annual millstone" will mean that thousands of schools will forgo crucial maintenance while the few to have benefited from BSF "enjoy their shiny overpriced facilities".

In a sane world decisions about new schools would be taken by city and county councils. That it is now a matter for central government is a symptom of the vast overcentralisation of Britain.

BSF also serves as a symbol for Gordon Brown's love of overcomplicated and apparently ingenious (but actually rather stupid) methods of financing public works.

Add into this Labour's tendency to value buildings over human values (step forward Polly Toynbee) and it is no wonder that BSF has produced such a toxic brew.


  1. oh indeed,I note the Lib Dem education executive members in Liverpool and St Helens thought BSF funding was vital for the educational future of the children in those areas.I suppose that's the difference between leafley Birkdale and the real world eh? Nice celebration party by the way.

  2. All of which misses the point that this is a silly way of building/renovating schools. It is very costly with all its centrally imposed obstacles & the PFI is often excessively expensive-and not included in the often quoted costs of the national debt. Of course everyone would wish to improve school building but in a time of constrained resources this was the wrong way of doing it. In fact it is the wrong way of doing at anytime.


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