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Report cover showing child balancing coins

Financial Management in the Department for Children, Schools and Families

“The Department has made progress in integrating financial management with its strategic and corporate planning. There is room for a better understanding of costs attributable to each of the Department’s strategic objectives. The Department could usefully consult further with delivery organisations such as local authorities to see what might be done here. It also needs to improve its management of financial risks, and to use the introduction of new finance systems to improve financial reporting and forecasting.”

In 2007-08 the Department’s expenditure totalled £48.9 billion and around £40 billion (82 per cent of the Department’s spending) was spent on schools or services to support schools.

The Department has built up a large capital underspend, which is around £2.4 billion at the end of March 2009. In 2007-08 the balance increased by £654 million to £1.9 billion and 2008-09 figures will show that this increased to around £2.4 billion by the end of March 2009.

Schools build up surpluses when they do not spend their full budgets and carry over the balances to future years. An excessive surplus is defined by the Department as being greater than five per cent of annual budget for secondary schools and greater than eight per cent for nursery, primary and special schools. At 31 March 2008 nearly 40 per cent of schools had excessive cumulative surpluses and 22 per cent had held an excessive cumulative surplus for at least the last three years.

Accruals accounting is an accounting convention under which transactions are recognised as the underlying economic events occur, irrespective of the timing of cash receipts and payments related to these transactions. Under accruals accounting, expenditure incurred or income earned, but not yet paid or received, are included in the accounts in the period when they were incurred or earned. This differs from cash accounting where income and expenditure are recognised when the cash is received or paid respectively.

Published:
30 Apr 2009
Report cover showing two people looking at a computer screen

Extending access to learning through technology: Ufi and the learndirect service

“learndirect is a major innovative feat that within a few short years has become the largest education provider of its type in the world. It is attracting large numbers of learners who otherwise would not have undertaken learning. Management and administration costs have reduced with time but still take up too large a portion of the budget. They need to be streamlined so that more money can go into services for learners, and to increase the emphasis on small- and medium-sized businesses.”

Published:
4 Nov 2005
Report cover showing students at computers

Employers’ perspectives on improving skills for employment

“A more skilled workforce is vital for national productivity and the delivery of public services. Better skills are also important for the country to maintain its position in an increasingly competitive global economy.

“The doubts that some employers have about the value of skills training must be addressed by more streamlined communication with employers, by developing flexible and affordable training genuinely targeted on business needs, through incentives to employers, and effective channels through which employers can influence skills training”.

Published:
14 Dec 2005
Report cover showing primary school children eager to answer a question in class

Education Action Zones: Meeting the Challenge – The Lessons Identified From Auditing the First 25 Zones

“I am glad that we are able to provide positive assurance about the way that the Department for Education and Employment handled the establishment of these new charitable bodies. Innovation such as the action zones programme carries risks and the department has taken the right steps to mitigate the financial risks in particular.

“The wider lessons learned from the establishment of the zones can be applied to other government programmes involving the setting up of innovative new bodies.”

Published:
26 Jan 2001
Boy conducting science experiment

Educating the next generation of scientists

The Department for Education has made good progress in improving take-up and achievement in areas such as A-Level maths and GCSE Triple Science. However, there has been less success in increasing the number of science teachers, improving take-up of A-Level physics and raising the standards of school science facilities.

Published:
12 Nov 2010