Monday, April 30, 2012

The Priory – the report and the risks for academies

There has been plenty of press coverage of the Department for Education report about the Priory academy federation in Lincoln. The internal audit report is available on the DfE website.

On Twitter (where you can follow my Twitterstream), there is a Twittersplurge analysis of the Priory by the Education Editor of The Times, Greg Hurst:

Risks exposed by Priory Academy scandal: 1. Academy chain HQs handle much larger sums of money than a maintained school ...

2. Entrepreneurial activity by academies/chains widen scope for abuse eg buying grade II Georgian manor house / activity centre in France ..

3. Many academy chains built / led by dominant charismatic figure who other staff / governors may find harder to challenge

4. Academy chains with business links / sponsors have greater scope for conflicts of interest with suppliers, a risk that grows with scale

5. Many academy chains generate commercial / private revenue steams from leaders ' speaking, training, conferences, consulting

6. Business people who join chains in corporate / governance roles may not be as used to dealing with public rather than private money

Something for boards and managers to think about (especially audit committees - where academies have them).

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