Devolved school management: guidelines

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.

Appendix B: Areas of expenditure that are generally not considered suitable for devolution

It is expected that Local Authorities support meaningful devolution that empowers school leaders to make appropriate, and informed decisions to deliver the best outcomes for children and young people.

Whilst headteachers should be given maximum flexibility over their budgets, there are areas of expenditure that are generally not considered suitable for devolution. The reasons for this may include, but are not limited to, areas of spend that:

  • are outside the influence of a headteacher
  • are too bureaucratic
  • have unacceptable levels of risk
  • benefit from economies of scale
  • require specific professional expertise
  • are complex by their nature

Through consultation it is clear that for a variety of locally determined reasons, differing approaches exist within the Local Authorities. The first list, presented below (a), covers areas that are generally recognised as not enhancing headteacher empowerment, and the second list (b) presents areas that Local Authorities may have determined locally agreed procedures according to their existing systems and processes.

It is expected that each Local Authority identifies and lists any areas that are not devolved to schools within their published schemes.

a. Areas identified as not generally suitable for devolving:

  • Rent in relation to school premises
  • Capital expenditure, including PPP/PFI costs
  • Property Insurance
  • Non-Domestic Rates
  • Statutory Local Authority contracted work on managing the school estate
  • Corporate support function costs for example Finance, HR, and Legal functions
  • School clothing grants
  • Education Maintenance Allowances
  • Home to school pupil transport
  • Premature retirement costs
  • Local Authority Information Management Systems (currently SEEMIS)
  • School meals

b. Areas which consultation highlighted as having a variety of approaches, and requiring local determination:

  • Waste Collection
  • Energy costs
  • Carbon charges
  • Janitorial and Cleaning staff costs
  • Central support services for example Educational Psychology, Quality Improvement Teams, Learning Support and Behavioural Support Teams, Speech and Language Teams, hearing and visually impaired support, dyslexia or significant and enhanced provision for additional support. Each authority will have their own specialist teams which will differ.
  • Examination fees
  • Long Term Sickness Absence
  • Family Leave Costs
  • Visiting Teachers
  • Music Instructors
  • Parent Council expenditure



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