Axed BSF projects cost councils more than £160 million

15 July 2010

15 July 2010 | Angeline Albert

Local authorities have spent at least £161.4 million preparing Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects that have now been cancelled.

A snapshot survey carried out by the Local Government Association (LGA) , which represents councils in England, has found more than £161,448,000 has been spent by 67 authorities.

Councils were legally obliged to carry out public consultations as well as tendering for designers and architects, before programmes were given the final go-ahead. They also had to negotiate 60 separate documents, submit strategic overviews to government and create project boards to oversee their submissions.

Councillor Shireen Ritchie, chair of the children and young people’s board at the LGA, said: “Getting valuable public money to the front line without wasting it on unnecessary bureaucracy and form-filling is a priority for local government and it is encouraging that [education secretary] Michael Gove has stressed his commitment to getting more core funding directly to schools via councils.

“Councils cannot now send good money after bad, so any future plans for school rebuilding should use preparatory work which has been done already as far as is practical.”

On Tuesday 13 July, the Department for Education released a new list giving details of which BSF projects will go ahead and which will be abandoned.

BSF projects at 735 schools have been withdrawn out of the 1,592 schools listed – 35 more than the number originally announced on 5 July. This is the fifth revised version of the list to be published as a result of inaccuracies in the Department for Education’s previous lists. Gove has apologised for publishing inaccurate information on school building programmes that are set to end.

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