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City Academies: Consultants

Volume 459: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many project consultants have been engaged by (a) his Department and (b) associated bodies in the Academy Scheme; by what process consultants are appointed for the Scheme; and how much the Department has spent on such consultants. (133854)

The Academies programme requires a wide range of skills including some which are outside the core civil service skills. Since the Academies programme began in December 2000 the Department for Education and Skills has spent £20,161,977 on a range of consultancy services for the Academies programme. The Department currently has 46 separate contracts for the provision of consultancy services to the Academies programme including:

an ongoing independent evaluation of the programme;

programme management expertise;

school improvement and intervention;

background checks to determine the suitability of potential sponsors,

legal advice, construction procurement expertise

Each Academy project also has an overall project manager who is initially contracted to the Department but whose contract transfers to the individual Academy Trust once the funding agreement is signed. The total cost of these project management services from the start of the programme is £28,338,823. There are now 47 open academies and 90 in the pipeline.

Consultancy services are procured for the Academies programme in accordance with the Departmental Procurement Policy and the EU Procurement Directives.