Council broke rules over £500,000 deal

Chris Pratt, the director of DMBC's Children and Young Person's Service. Picture: Liz Mockler D8089LM
Chris Pratt, the director of DMBC's Children and Young Person's Service. Picture: Liz Mockler D8089LM

BOSSES at Doncaster Council have admitted lessons need to be learned after a report revealed it broke public spending rules over a £500,000 consultancy deal.

Internal auditors say the authority ignored its own legal advice when it agreed a deal with Outwood Grange School in Wakefield to turn around the school, then known as North Doncaster Technology College.

There was no signed contract, no evidence of value for money and no competition for the work.

NDTC, which is now called Outwood Academy Adwick, had been in special measures at the time.

The report detailing the findings of services provided by the school improvement consultancy to the NDTC will be presented at Doncaster Council’s Audit Committee meeting on Wednesday.

NDTC was placed into special measures following an Ofsted inspection in May 2008 which judged the school to be inadequate.

Outwood Grange is one of a number of schools accredited with a national leader in education status to improve education standards within schools and provided support to NDTC from September 2008 to August 2009, prior to it becoming an academy.

Doncaster Council’s director of children and young people’s service, Chris Pratt, said: “With Outwood’s assistance, it is clear the improvement services used here enabled a former failing school to be successfully turned around and removed from the special measures category within the year which is an excellent achievement.

“As Outwood Academy Adwick, results have continued to improve rapidly securing a high quality and sustained standard of education for the children of the area.

“However as the report demonstrates, lessons need to be learned. We fully recognise and accept there were severe flaws in relation to how these arrangements were set up and it is completely unacceptable that a number of statutory processes and procedures were not undertaken correctly.”