Publication - Advice and guidance

Devolved school management: guidelines

Published: 25 Jun 2019
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781787819276

This guidance supports the development of devolved school management schemes, which set out how local authorities fund schools and the accountability and responsibility for financial decisions.

Devolved school management: guidelines
2. Devolved School Management: Detailed Guidance for Local Authorities in developing a DSM scheme

2. Devolved School Management: Detailed Guidance for Local Authorities in developing a DSM scheme

2.1 General

Local Authority schemes are expected to demonstrate best value by following the characteristics of: commitment and leadership; sound governance at a strategic and operational level; accountability; sound management of resources; responsiveness and consultation; use of review and options appraisal; a contribution to sustainable development; equal opportunities arrangements and joint working.

DSM schemes are expected to support, promote and facilitate school empowerment, enabling headteachers to provide the efficient and most effective use of resources. Local Authorities, and their headteachers, are expected to demonstrate accountability at all levels, be clear and transparent, support collegiate working and strive to deliver national, Local Authority, local and school priorities.

It is expected that Local Authorities ensure that devolution is meaningful and empowers school leaders to make appropriate, and informed decisions to best meet their local needs in line with Local Authority policies, guidance and frameworks. It is recognised that there are areas of expenditure that are generally not considered suitable for devolution. These may be aspects that are beyond a headteacher's influence or are too bureaucratic to be managed at school level, have unacceptable levels of risk or have no impact on learning and teaching. A list of such aspects is detailed in Appendix B. It is expected that each Local Authority will identify any areas that are not deemed suitable for devolving to schools and include this information within their published schemes.

Headteachers are expected to deploy the school's budget in accordance with best value principles and Local Authority procurement arrangements, with appropriate support and guidance from their Local Authority. School expenditure should be in line with the School Improvement Plan supporting both Local Authority and national priorities and frameworks. Local Authorities and headteachers are required to support SNCT and LNCT agreements and guidance.

Local Authorities should aim to reduce, where possible, staff workload and bureaucracy in relation to the utilisation and the application of DSM schemes, including associated financial policies and procedures.

Local Authority Example

A recent Education Scotland inspection in Renfrewshire highlighted the importance of robust governance arrangements when dealing with the complexity of a range of different sources of funding. Although it could be argued that this is not entirely related to DSM, the overlaps and dependencies between each of them are highly significant if empowered headteachers are to feel supported by a strong central team from the Local Authority.

2.2 Format and Publication

Local Authorities are strongly encouraged and recommended to use the Scottish Government/COSLA common DSM framework document, which accompanies this document and can be downloaded from https://www.gov.scot/policies/schools/devolved-school-management/. The framework will support benchmarking, assist staff moving between Local Authorities, aid national and/or shared training opportunities and bring a common look and feel to Local Authority schemes.

It is expected that local schemes include any criteria and methodology used to create staffing models and other resource allocations as appropriate. If formulae have been applied, these should be included within the scheme. Headteachers should be able to interpret the formulae or resource allocations and reconcile this information with their school's resources.

Local Authorities are expected to publish their DSM scheme on an external facing authority website, providing access to public stakeholders. Where a school has a website, it is recommended that it includes a link to the Local Authority website directing parents and wider stakeholders to the scheme. As DSM schemes can be technical documents, and are expected to include detailed formulae, Local Authorities are recommended to consider publishing a summary of their detailed scheme using the Scottish Government/COSLA framework (available from https://www.gov.scot/policies/schools/devolved-school-management/) to provide all stakeholders with summary information which is both accessible and in plain language, maximising parental and/or stakeholder engagement.

2.3 Training

To support understanding and enhance confidence in DSM, Local Authorities are expected to provide specific training opportunities to individuals who make use of, or may influence, the DSM scheme. It is expected that this group would include headteachers and business managers or equivalent posts. It is recommended that training should also be considered for depute headteachers, aspiring leaders, LNCT trade union representatives and any other appropriate groups.

It is recommended that elected members, as decision makers responsible for the Local Authority corporate budget should also receive a tailored training programme. The National Parent Forum Scotland have advised that additional training for Parent Councils is not required as this may be viewed as a barrier for parental involvement. However, Local Authorities can offer training in conjunction with Parent Councils where they deem it appropriate.

It is expected that appropriate training should be available on a recurring basis to ensure new appointments to posts can be given sufficient induction, training and support to allow them to make informed decisions and to allow experienced staff to refresh their knowledge. Training should be available when new systems or processes are introduced. It is recommended that Local Authority headteacher induction programmes include a DSM element.

Where school or establishment staff have a delegated budget responsibility, it is expected that they will be aware of the aims and principles associated with DSM and best value and that they will adhere to financial regulations and Local Authority procedures and policies for the funds they are responsible for, which should include any staff member with a recognised budget responsibility.

Local Authority Examples

Falkirk run regular training and update sessions for headteachers, deputy headteachers and new staff on all matters to do with Finance, Resource, Property and Planning matters.

Inverclyde Finance training is built into the practical guide to taking a school forward, which is available for any aspiring headteacher. The induction programme also includes one to one sessions on finance with the appropriate finance officer. This covers DSM.

As part of the leadership development programme, Dumfries and Galloway run two sessions each year to support current headteachers and aspiring leaders with managing resources - "Strategic Management of Budgets". As part of this session, some of the mechanics of DSM are covered, including the local scheme. The session also focuses on HGIOS4 Section 1.5 Management of Resources to promote equity, using the challenge questions from HGIOS4 to promote discussion, challenge and share experience.

Headteacher training in Dundee includes information on their Roles and Responsibilities related to Finance, and the recommendation that schools should have a DSM and School Fund Consultative Committee. Dundee also makes reference to HGIOS4 in training and the use of data when making spending decisions at school level

Dedicated training days are set up for Shetland Islands headteachers, as well as one-to one training opportunities for headteachers and their clerical staff.

2.4 Consultation, Engagement and Transparency

It is expected that local DSM schemes are accessible and in plain language, maximising engagement and supporting transparency. Local Authorities are expected to make information available to all stakeholders in relation to the Local Authority budget, delegated budgets to schools, including identifying areas of expenditure that are not devolved to headteachers.

It is expected that there will be meaningful consultation and engagement at all levels among the Local Authority, headteachers and all stakeholders. It is expected that meetings take place to inform appropriate resource decisions, including, for example: budget, staffing models and savings. To facilitate meaningful consultation and collaborative decision making, it is expected that Local Authorities form appropriate mechanisms or forums for regular engagement and consultation with headteacher and wider stakeholders. These should be formed in conjunction with headteachers and Local Authority education management. A range of consultation approaches are already in place within Local Authorities including:

  • regular finance forums
  • Headteacher/trade unions/staff working groups
  • DSM committees
  • area / school cluster meetings
  • quality improvement forums
  • feedback from surveys at school, school cluster and Local Authority levels
  • Headteacher short-life work streams

It is an expectation that headteachers have an input into areas affecting school resources, at a local, area or schools cluster level. This includes criteria used when determining how a formula is devised, how the formula is applied to schools, methods of calculating and distributing budget, any associated savings, school staffing models and any other appropriate allocations of resources.

Local Authority Examples

The Dundee Star Chamber group meets four times per year with all headteachers invited to attend. The Star Chamber meetings specifically focus on budget issues, with the meeting chaired by the Executive Director and Senior Management Team. In addition, Dundee's Staffing review group is chaired by the Chief Education Officer and consists of headteachers and central managers. This group covers all areas associated with the staffing process including allocation of staffing budgets. Lastly, there are sub-groups chaired by headteachers who involve other headteachers in taking forward certain areas. This year these groups were involved in revising staff formulae, given the budget pressures that the authority faced, and also focused on improving the recruitment process.

School Operating Management meetings in Fife are held termly; the meetings are chaired by a Head of Service and all headteachers are invited. The meetings focus on business matters including such areas as recruitment, staffing models, budget allocations, savings and facilities management. Three meetings are scheduled over different days to provide headteachers with the flexibility to attend the most suitable meeting to maximize attendance. This format is used for meaningful consultation with all headteachers (over 170 including nursery, special, primary and secondary). In addition, Cluster Chair Headteacher Meetings, Working Groups or sector specific headteacher meetings are also utilised for particular areas of work and for detailed discussion regarding specific budget savings.

In North Ayrshire, all schools are required to have a DSM Committee to discuss resource matters, the committee is formed from all staff groups and includes parent council representatives.

Transparency is further supported by the sharing of devolved staffing allocations with all school sectors in the local authority area - Nursery, Special, Primary and Secondary

As the leaders of learning in their schools, and as senior officers of the Local Authority, headteachers are expected to take the lead role in ensuring their school community is empowered at all levels, this includes full consultation with staff. Headteachers are expected to consult with staff, parent councils, pupils, trade unions and the wider community on appropriate matters to inform resource decisions. It is expected that headteachers provide clear information on local budgets and resource allocation including school staffing models, DSM decisions, allocation of departmental or class resources, formulae, criteria or methodologies used within the school. To facilitate consultation, it is expected that headteachers form appropriate mechanisms or forums for regular engagement and consultation with stakeholders to discuss and consult on any relevant area. To facilitate collective decision making a range of consultation approaches are in place within schools which include:

  • School committees
  • staff meetings
  • parent council
  • pupil councils
  • working groups

Headteachers are expected to ensure that any costs on families are minimised to ensure equality of access. However, where charges are deemed unavoidable, it is recommended that any anticipated pupil charges for curricular or extra-curricular activities (for example Home Economics, or school trips), or other costs (such as school uniform) requiring funding contributions from parents/carers are clearly detailed in school information published at the start of the academic session, supporting transparency. It is further recommended that any potential financial assistance or opportunities available to the pupil, or any discounts or exemptions available, for example in relation to pupils in receipt of free school meals, are included within this information.

2.5 Collaboration

DSM schemes should be informed by local priorities to enable them to contribute towards shared agendas and improved outcomes, allowing stronger partnership working between schools and with other agencies and stakeholders.

Local Authority decisions about education spending are expected to be made in a collegiate and transparent way, paying due regard to their wider responsibilities, including Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and the role of Local Authorities as Corporate Parents.

Effective joint working, encompassing headteachers, school staff, Local Authority chief officers, community partners, other schools, colleges, universities and the Regional Improvement Collaborative are key. Meaningful collaboration can support the best use of resources, through arrangements for strategic planning of local provision, economies of scale and the pooling of resources to meet locally identified educational needs. To further develop this, it is recommended that Local Authorities consider empowering an area or school cluster, enabling headteachers to influence decisions and resource use across a geographical or cluster basis. Devolving budget resource on an area or school cluster basis also requires headteachers to be responsible for these resources to their stakeholders and Local Authority.

The Regional Improvement Collaborative should consider developing and sharing models of best practice in empowerment and effective decision making within the funding and resources context.

In an empowered system, headteachers are expected to be collaborative and collegiate in their approach, challenging themselves and stakeholders to be solution focused and embrace joint working with the learning community, teachers, support staff, partners, other schools and the Local Authority. It is recommended that headteachers work together to share and maximise resources in order to influence outcomes across geographical areas or school clusters.

Local Authority Examples

In Inverclyde, the recently implemented ASN review has devolved management of resources to localities of schools. This means that headteachers discuss allocations of support on a locality basis and can allocate resources accordingly.

The Falkirk Senior Management Team holds termly meetings with Parent Council Chairs and representatives to discuss all matters relating to budgets, finances and resources. In addition through collaboration, secondary schools now manage the provision and distribution of PE and Music teachers across all primary schools within their cluster.

In Glasgow, by headteachers pooling funding together, Secondary schools have engaged STEM staff to work collegiately to deliver training and staff development.

West Dunbartonshire have robust systems in place for the effective management and monitoring of finance, ensuring strong financial governance and delivery of best value at both corporate and project level. At corporate level, the Community Planning Partnership and Educational Services committee ensure accountability for the delivery of Education objectives. The Council provides the conditions and environment for leaders to make innovative decisions on available spend, based on research and self-evaluation activities. Through a variety of consultation processes, headteachers engage well with stakeholders in their school community to gather views on how funding is used, and to report on progress with delivery of projects/interventions. Through a variety of communications channels, headteachers share successes of projects/interventions, ensuring stakeholders are aware of impact to help inform next steps.

Na h-Eileanan Siar Primary and Secondary headteachers have collectively identified a set of nine key actions based on the Department's four priorities and Business Plan as well as current national priorities and developments in education. To deliver the nine actions, a model of Headteacher Hubs has been developed that has created three hub teams of headteachers, each led by one of the headteachers and supported by a Senior Education Officer. Each of the hubs has been assigned three of the nine priorities. Headteacher Hubs serve two key purposes. They empower headteachers, as senior officers of the Comhairle, to lead on the delivery of key priorities as well as to take devolved responsibility for budget spending. It also addresses the national priority to tackle bureaucracy through more effective sharing of development work across the three Hubs to benefit all schools, and raise learners' attainment. Each Hub is led by a headteacher with a group of other associated headteachers, as well as any co-opted members they wish to include for the purposes of meeting their specific objectives.

2.6 Staffing

Local schemes are expected to devolve the appropriate resources to schools, whilst ensuring that legislative and contractual requirements are met and local circumstances and needs taken into account.

Local Authorities are required to develop and implement staffing models for all school sectors, within which headteachers are expected to deliver the most appropriate and efficient use of staff, ensuring equity, transparency and clarity whilst promoting and supporting collaboration and collegiate working. To facilitate this, it is expected that headteachers are empowered to design a staffing structure to suit their school's context, within the budget delegated to the school by the authority.

Local Authorities are recommended to consider the risks associated with devolving staffing. This includes discussing and consulting with headteacher and appropriate forums around the complexities and risks associated with staffing allocations. Local schemes will vary and may be determined or influenced by systems and processes in place for finance budget setting. This may include budgets based on named individual salary placements, average staff salaries, top of teaching scale salary, cash or points models, or any other methodology used.

Consideration should also be given in relation to long term absence and family leave costs which may impact on budgets. Variances in local schemes may also exist owing to the accounting approach applied for specific individual circumstances noting the salary differentials for roles such as chartered teachers, assimilated teachers, career pathway lead teachers or in relation to conservation of salary or changes to job sizing grades. For all staffing matters, it is expected that headteachers must adhere to the appropriate legislation, Local Authority, SNCT and LNCT agreements, Working Time Agreements and guidelines.

Headteachers are expected to play an active role in designing and reviewing the recruitment processes and staffing approaches, both for their own school/s and for the Local Authority.

It is expected that headteachers are consulted on the allocation of all staff groups to their schools, including support staff. Staffing allocations of support staff should be supported by a clear and transparent methodology for the distribution of staff either to schools or clusters.

Local Authority Examples

A primary school in Dumfries and Galloway was entitled to two depute headteachers. The headteacher has chosen to put in place only one depute headteacher post and utilise the funding from the other position to support development opportunities across the staff group. These are project type arrangements to complete designated pieces of work.

A Primary School in East Lothian had an increasing school roll and were entitled, per the staffing model to receive an additional depute headteacher, increasing from one to two depute headteachers. The headteacher elected to utilise the budget resource to maximise the existing depute headteacher's management time, thereby removing the teaching commitment. This further enabled the headteacher to create a principal teacher post through use of the balance of resource available.

In Falkirk the annual teacher recruitment and probationer intake exercise for primary schools is centrally coordinated with input from headteachers groups to reduce the demands on their time. Primary headteachers have also used their devolved budgets to collectively fund a central support post to source and manage supply cover on their behalf.

Fife manage a generic recruitment campaign for class teacher posts for the new August academic session. This generic campaign is led by headteachers, supported by the central team. Headteachers attend a centrally led recruitment session at which the headteachers devise the interview format and questions. The interview panels are solely formed by headteachers who make a recommendation to appoint candidates to Fife, or not. The central team then undertake all reference and recruitment checks before allocating the candidate to a post in Fife. To staff schools, headteachers submit a 'Staffing Return' for the new August session whereby they identify vacancies or surplus staff. For vacancies, the headteacher identifies the nature of the vacancy (permanent/temporary/full time/part time) and can identify how they wish the post to be filled, for example the allocation of a new probationer or the appointment of a teacher.

Furthermore, for the allocation of a new probationer they can request a student who has completed a placement within their school, or are allocated a name by the central team. For the allocation of a teacher, they can request a named individual from the generic interviews and this allows headteachers to request to retain their current probationer if they wish to do so. Through this system headteachers are able to greatly influence their school staffing allocation. The Directorate seeks to accommodate headteacher requests whilst taking account of any other factors, including staff members requiring transfer, the overall school pupil roll, the authority's probationer allocation and any other local matters.

Perth & Kinross Headteachers are authorised to organise their support staff structure as required. Resources continue to be allocated to schools using the DSM funding allocation annually.

Renfrewshire engaged extensively with primary headteachers in order to design a revitalised recruitment process for the annual staffing exercise, which sees headteachers lead the selection procedures forming interview panels and recommending deployment based on a competence based approach. This is backed up by support from HR and recruitment professionals within the Local Authority in order to ensure openness, fairness and transparency. By empowering headteachers in this way, workload has been reduced and both schools and individual teachers feel more valued for their contribution.

2.7 Professional Support

To support empowered schools, Local Authorities are expected to provide the appropriate support and challenge to headteachers. Empowered schools should be underpinned by professional high-quality teams with the appropriate capacity to support headteachers. This may be in the form of business managers (or equivalents), finance, human resources and facilities teams. It is expected that access to professional support is available to all headteachers, in all school establishments. It is expected that there should be transparency in any formulae or methodology used in allocating professional support to schools.

Local Authority Examples

Argyll and Bute Finance Assistants are assigned to schools to provide financial advice to the headteacher. These roles are managed by the corporate finance teams with the posts being based in schools. The finance assistants provide support to more than one school, usually on a cluster basis.

Each secondary school in Falkirk has a dedicated Resource Manager and other schools are supported by a centrally based team of Resource Officers.

Scottish Borders undertook a review during 2016/17, with the aim of developing more integrated and streamlined management and administration arrangements on a locality, cluster basis. A new structure was developed and consulted on, and a Business Manager was appointed for each high school cluster (of which there are 9) and administration staff for both secondary and primary schools were matched into the new, cluster-based structure. The resulting standardisation and improvement of processes and policies has enabled a necessary move away from inconsistencies in approaches to business support across over 70 Scottish Borders schools, and is facilitated by investment in digital improvements for staff, parents and pupils. The clusters vary in size, and contain a mix of rural and urban settings. The Business Manager posts are line managed by a Business Support Service Manager at Council HQ, who reports to the Service Director, Customer and Communities, and funding for the new structure now sits within this service.

Stirling Business Managers are based in each of the 7 secondary schools and support the specific secondary school. The posts are managed by the headteacher and funded by the overall secondary staffing model. 40 primary schools are supported by 2 Primary School Resource Officers, who in turn support a cluster of nursery, primary schools and one special school. They are managed by the Business Improvement Team Leader within the Broad General Education Service. The secondary business managers manage the non-teaching staff, monitor and report on the school devolved budget; assist the headteacher in the strategic deployment of staff and day to day management and co-ordination of all HR issues devolved to schools. They are responsible for all buildings and facilities management issues and liaise with other Council Services or contractors as appropriate. They assist the headteacher in the strategic management of all finance related issues. The Primary School Resource Officers support, advise and assist headteachers in the strategic management of all resource related issues. They all support the schools in working within the Legal and Financial Framework of the Council and are supported by our Corporate Teams including Finance, HR, procurement and property teams.

2.8 Accounting Matters

Headteachers are expected to be given the flexibility to manage and determine the best use of the resources devolved to schools. To facilitate this, headteachers should be permitted to move budgets between devolved budget headings (referred to as budget virement) subject to Local Authority accounting principles, schemes of delegation and financial regulations.

Locally determined virement criteria, including any maximum percentage, financial limits or excluded budget areas, are expected to be included within the published local scheme.

Local Authority Examples

In Angus headteachers are permitted to divert monies between devolved budgets. However, no funds should be diverted which have an ongoing commitment into future years e.g. diverted funds cannot be used to permanently increase staffing levels as the source of funding cannot be guaranteed in future years.

To support Schools with their individual budget control and financial reporting, Falkirk provide schools with 10 unique financial ledger devolved cost codes that allow schools to decide themselves what costs should be charged and monitored against them. A bespoke devolved budget report is also available to headteachers to monitor devolved budgets directly.

In Glasgow, virement of up to £1,000 across all supplies and services budget lines and Virement of up to £5,000 across all classroom supplies lines is allowed. However, virement of up to 10% of the entitlement budget of a school's sickness absence cover (5% pre-Christmas and 5% post-Christmas) is subject to approval from the Executive Director of Education Services.

Inverclyde currently allow virements of up to £20,000 out of employee budget lines to any budget lines within the overall DSM budget. They also allow virements of up to 10% of non-salary budget lines to any DSM budget line.

In Aberdeenshire Council headteachers are provided with details of devolved budgets at the beginning of each financial year, which are updated post September-Census to reflect roll movements. Although Primary schools do not have access to the General Ledger, transaction reports are provided regularly. Budget monitoring statements are also provided quarterly by a centrally based Finance team, who are available to provide advice and support to headteachers.

Secondary Teaching staff costs, including long and short-term supply, are now fully devolved to schools. Budgets are based on the actual cost of staff in place and likewise expenditure is also on actual costs charged through the ledger. All schools are provided with an annual monitoring template, which allows them to record actual costs against budget and also to forecast the impact of staff changes.

Secondary schools also have access to monthly payroll reports, which are used to monitor the devolved teaching budget, and members of the Finance team are currently available to provide advice and support to Secondary headteachers and Business Managers. In terms of process, an accountant will visit each secondary at the beginning of the financial year to discuss the devolved budget and associated spending plans. Follow up visits are then offered later in the year to discuss the forecasted budget position and an update on spending plans. A meeting is held with a Head of Service/HR/Finance prior to the commencement of the new financial year to discuss staffing entitlement and address any budget issues. Secondary schools do have access to the Ledger, but also receive regular reports from the centre on all devolved budgets.

Aberdeenshire is also piloting the devolvement of ASN budgets to cluster schools. Two clusters representing different school sizes and demographics have been involved in this pilot. The budgets involved include teaching and non-teaching staff, together with budgets for flexible learning pathways, per capita and Continuing Professional Development. Each cluster collectively is then responsible for determining the spending plan for their budget that best meets the ASN needs within their cluster. Support from the Finance team is provided on a similar basis to that provided to secondary schools.

Headteachers are expected to be given the ability to carry forward budget underspends and overspends from one financial year to another in line with Local Authority criteria. This will provide greater flexibility, maximise best value and align school year expenditure with the School Improvement Plan, recognising that expenditure commitments operate on an academic and not financial year basis. Locally determined carry forward criteria, including any maximum percentage or financial limits, or where a carry forward provision is determined by the overall service, directorate or authority budget position, are expected to be published within the scheme.

It is recommended that local consideration is given to the use of carry forward of underspends and that the intended uses of any carry forwards are identified in School Improvement Plans or school budget plans.

Local Authorities should give consideration to enabling schools and establishments to deposit funds to save budget underspends over a number of financial years for planned and agreed future spending requirements.

It is recommended that Local Authorities consider how carry forward of overspends are managed and that associated processes or arrangements are included within the published scheme.

Local Authority Examples

In the City of Edinburgh Council headteachers may carry forward any surplus funds from one financial year to another, subject to this surplus being less than 2.5% of the school's total delegated budget. In addition, Nursery schools may carry forward 10% of their total delegated budget. Any budget deficit incurred by the headteacher will be carried forward in full to the next financial year and will have the effect of reducing the total funds available for expenditure in that year. The Executive Director of Communities and Families may instruct headteachers not to budget a deficit where there is reason to believe that this would create financial difficulties for the Council. In exceptional circumstances the Executive Director of Communities and Families may amend the amount of surplus or deficit to be carried forward but will give reasons for doing so.

Over the period 2017/18 to 2019/20 initially headteachers in East Renfrewshire have the facility to carry forward a percentage of their DSM allocation as budget underspend at the financial year end, subject to the overall Education Department budget being underspent. For 2017/18 this was set at a maximum of 5% of devolved resources, reducing to 3.5% in year two and 2% the following year with a wider review of DSM thereafter to take account of new national guidance. The budget devolved to a school in any financial year should be targeted at the priorities in the School's Improvement Plan and should be for the benefit of current pupils. Headteachers must therefore ensure that all carry forwards are planned and should not be used as a means of setting aside resources for the future with no identified plans for the carry forward. All carry forwards must be entirely used within a three-year period aligning with the School Improvement Plan and its timeframe. Where an overspend occurs, the shortfall in budget will be deducted from the school's DSM budget via an increased savings target in the following financial year and the headteacher would be required to provide an action plan to evidence how they will deliver a balanced budget by the end of that same financial year. If a school's DSM budget outturn position is unreasonably or persistently overspent, despite strong budget monitoring and support, then such action could be considered by the Director of Education as grounds for disciplinary action.

To reduce bureaucracy Falkirk has set financial levels for each school sector whereby underspends falling within these parameters are automatically carried forward. Underspends above these levels are subject of a simple business case being submitted to explain the reason for underspend and what the schools plans are for it. The acceptable parameters are: Early Years establishments £5,000, Primary Schools (Single Stream) - £10,000, Primary Schools (2/3 Stream) - £15,000; Secondary Schools - £30,000; and Special/ASN Establishments - £15,000.

The West Lothian the maximum carry forward is set at 2.5% of all fully devolved budget headings. Any balance greater than 2.5% will not be available to the school in the following financial year. Any carry forward above 1% requires Head of Service. Schools may wish to use this carry forward not only for on-going revenue expenditure, but may also wish to save towards a longer term planned objective (e.g. school refurbishment).

Inverclyde allows a carry forward of up to 10% of the entitlement budget. In addition to this, headteachers are allowed a carry forward of planned underspend to be placed into a capital item replacement fund (CIRF) which can be held for up to 3 years. The minimum deposit is £500 and the maximum is £10,000 annually. This fund can then be used in the future 3 years to purchase planned equipment or resources e.g. reading schemes / smaller capital items.

Renfrewshire allows schools to carry forward a proportion of funds in particularly budget lines. Headteachers are expected to justify the purpose of such carry forward to ensure it is in line with the expectations of the 2012 guidance that 'today's money be for today's children'. This provides a degree of accountability, whilst ensuring flexibility for the purchase of larger items which may not be possible within a single financial year.

2.9 Scheme Review

Local Authorities are expected to undertake a full review of their scheme every three years though peer and stakeholder evaluation. Local Authorities may wish to consider utilising the Regional Improvement Collaborative which they are a member of, although consideration should also be given to working with Local Authorities beyond the collaborative where demographics, scale, size and context may be comparable. Peer review should utilise the Scottish Government and COSLA quality assurance template.

In addition to working with a partner Local Authority, it is expected that the three-year review should include stakeholders from the home Local Authority and the wider community. It is recommended that these stakeholders include headteachers and other Local Authority representatives, for example, business managers or equivalent, school staff groups, trade unions, parents, pupils, corporate partners (such as finance, human resources and procurement) and any other community stakeholders as deemed appropriate.

It is recommended that Local Authorities, as part of their ongoing self-evaluation, update the DSM scheme if required following formal agreement of the Local Authority budget, or to recognise any Local Authority policy decisions which may have a consequential impact on their scheme.

It is recommended that headteachers undertake self-evaluation of DSM in their own school's context using the most appropriate and current tools available. At date of publication these include; Education Scotland - How Good is Our School 4 (HGIOS4), Quality Indicator 1.5 Management of Resources; GTC Scotland - The Standards for Leadership and Management: supporting leadership and management development; Scottish Government and COSLA - Education Reform Joint Agreement and Headteachers' Charter.

Local Authorities may wish to utilise the "Expected and Recommended Summary" (Appendix A) as their self-evaluation checklist or for use during their annual internal review.

Local Authority Example

East Lothian's Service is incorporating HGIOS4, Quality Indicator 1.5 Management of Resources as part of their internal reviews and improvement processes within their school establishments.


Contact

Email: DSM@gov.scot