Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Members raise concerns over PFI 'legacy issues'

Paper Compass

ASCL officers, led by President Malcolm Trobe, have had productive meetings with the DfES regarding private finance initiative (PFI) 'legacy issues' raised by members.

DfES officials were responsive to ASCL's concerns and have now appointed someone to lead on legacy matters. ASCL is meeting with her shortly after she takes up post in June.

There is also a government task force to help schools with concerns related to PFI schemes. Individual schools can contact the task force on 0207 273 8356 or operationaltaskforce@partneshipsuk.org.uk Please keep ASCL informed of emerging PFI issues by copying emails to malcolm.trobe@ascl.org.uk

Among the concerns raised by ASCL members working in PFI schools, which ASCL raised with the DfES, are:

  • A 'clash of cultures' in which the contractor is not always working for the benefit of the young people

  • Fittings, such as doors and electrical sockets, that were not 'fit for purpose' and are easily damaged/broken

  • Poor level of service in the management of the school facilities

  • Long delays in taking action on basic repairs and maintenance

  • Normal 'wear and tear' being branded vandalism and charged to the school

  • Life cycle replacements not being scheduled early enough to replace worn out materials

  • Increasing management fees on any additional work in the school and these management fees being poor value for money

  • Reduced capital funding which limit some developments, for instance improving IT provision

  • Schools' access to the building 'out of hours' for extended school activities being either too expensive or difficult to obtain

  • Difficulties in negotiating extensions to buildings

  • The buy-out of PFI contracts by very large corporations putting a distance between the school and the 'decision makers'

  • High consultation and legal fees for changing contracts

  • On-going issues with an 'affordability gap' between what is budgeted and what is actually needed

For the ASCL reports to the DfES on PFI legacy issues, go to www.ascl.org.uk and click on news and press releases.

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