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No central record of school complaints

No central record of school complaints

Thursday 17 September 2020

No central record of school complaints


There is no central record of complaints about schools, it has emerged in a watchdog's report branding the Education Department's approach to managing data as "ad-hoc and reactive."

The review, led by Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Lynn Pamment, focuses on ‘Management Information in Education' and follows a report of the same name from 2016.

It has found that none of the 12 recommendations made in that initial report have been implemented fully.

A lack of long-term planning was a consistent theme throughout the review, with the need to establish “establish short, medium and long-term business priorities for departmental functions and teams” being a main recommendation.  

Another key issue flagged was the “top down” attitude towards planning and access to information, with the report saying that “there remains some way to go to ensure management information requirements are specified effectively throughout" the department and not just at the senior management positions.  

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Pictured: According to the latest review, "no central records are kept of complaints dealt with by schools." 

This was in addition to a key finding that “no central records are kept of complaints dealt with by schools."

This, the C&AG concluded, means that there is no way for the department to identify patterns in problems being raised in one or more schools.

"Consequently, there is no evidence-based number, type and outcomes alert for CYPES that something may be causing concern either within a school or across a number of schools," she said.

Similarly, the ways of making reports was flagged, with the review saying that a general criteria for teams to report their concerns about processes and projects had “not been established.” 

It added that without this solid criteria, “there is a risk that managers will apply inconsistent judgements.” 

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Pictured: The review calls for a more co-ordinated plan from the department in future. 

Ms Pamment said of the follow-up: “There has been some progress made towards implementing the recommendations from the 2016 Report.  

“However, the progress that has been made has been ad-hoc and reactive rather than executed as part of any overall co-ordinated plan, driven by the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills Leadership Team, to improve management information in the education function.

“The Government Plan recognises that a new performance management framework is required, to provide strategic performance management and insight, to benchmark Government impact and to support senior and departmental teams to continuously improve public services. It set a target date to achieve this by 2023.

“To improve management information, clear co-ordination and leadership of the management information agenda is needed. 

“To be effective this will require an adequately resourced training and development programme, benchmarking against those identified as best in class and the fostering of an environment where learning and development are rewarded.”

The findings come as the department’s head, Mark Rogers, was reported to have resigned earlier this month.   

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