HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 cc805-6W
Mr. Collins

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many local education authorities have been taken over by an improvement team in each year since 1997. [167576]

Mr. Miliband

Following agreement with the local authority in question, we have used various models of intervention to address poor performance in education services depending on the local circumstances. On the occasions where these models include the outsourcing by authorities of various education functions to another body, statutory directions have been used to enable that outsourcing to take place. Directions have been issued to the following nine local education authorities to contract out differing ranges of functions:

1999—Hackney LEA;

2000—Islington LEA;

2001—Bradford, Haringey, Leeds, Southwark, Walsall and Waltham Forest LEAs:

2002—Hackney1, Swindon and Walsall1 LEAs; and,

2003—Southwark1 LEA.

1 second directions.

Non-outsourcing solutions have frequently been adopted. They have included (sometimes in combination) the restructuring of internal management; partnerships with other local education authorities; partnership boards involving local stakeholders and members with external and independent expertise in the local education authorities' strategic decision making processes; and the establishment of predominantly private sector brokerage alongside a partnership board.

None of the interventions have resulted in a local education authority being "taken over" by an improvement team or any other body. Whatever the model adopted, the local education authority has retained overall responsibility and accountability for the quality of its education services.