Time to shine a spotlight on the academy brokers

Fiona Millar's picture
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There has been a lot in the news this week about academies and their funding. As we suspected all along,   DFE  management of thousands of schools has proved inefficient. Money ear-marked for school improvement has been squandered and while the government sprays money around with abandon on its favoured projects, other schools are facing cuts.

One particular story caught my eye. It was in the Telegraph and concerned the academy brokers. These are representatives of the DFE who move in on schools that are allegedly failing and forcibly convert them to academy status. I say representatives because it turns out that  they don't actually work for the DFE. They are consultants and paid through personal service companies which pay corporation tax rather than income tax.This is in spite of the fact that Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said that this practice should be outlawed by government departments.

Recently the Conservative leader of Lancashire County Council complained to the Secretary of State about the activities of these people. So who are they? One name that comes up frequently is that of Jacky Griffin. She featured heavily in the forced conversion of Downhills Primary School and several other governing bodies who are being bullied by the DFE into converting to academy status have mentioned her name to me. She was also involved in the last Labour government's moves to encourage academies and trust schools as part of the BSF building programme.

Here is a little bit more information about Ms Griffin, in which she is listed as a consultant at the DFE and a Director of Griffin Taylor Consultancy Ltd. And here is some information about her company's financial position. As it is an exempt small company, with only two directors, facts are limited but one thing seems clear,the DFE consultancy business is a very comfortable one.

Last year the government did provide some information about the tax arrangements of off payroll consultants and employment agencies. Here is a link . It would appear that the daily rate paid to personal service companies is slightly less than that paid to employment agencies,  but in return the  identities and addresses of the consultants are not provided. Does anyone else know who they might be?

 
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