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O’Dowd publishes efficiency reports

22 February, 2012 - by John O'Dowd

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has published reports into potential efficiency savings in key Education and Library Board services.

The reports, prepared in partnership with the Department of Finance & Personnel’s Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit (PEDU), focus on potential improvements in efficiency in the delivery of home to school transport and school meals services.

Commenting on the reports, Mr O’Dowd said: “I have made no secret of the fact that we are facing a very challenging budgetary environment in education. Even with the additional funding I announced on 12 January 2012, my Department still faces a real terms reduction of £180million (9.2%) in resource funding by 2014/15, compared to the 2010/11 baseline. I am clear that my top priority is to ensure that as much money as possible goes to frontline services and I have reviewed budget allocations to ensure we direct resources wherever we can to the Aggregated Schools Budget and mitigate the impact of cuts from Westminster.

“The PEDU reports being published today provide an opportunity to examine potential savings in the delivery of two major services – school transport and school meals. The reports have pointed up a significant degree of variation in practice and in costs across the five Education and Library Boards and scope for savings in both the short and the longer term.”

In total 53 recommendations have been made across the two areas. The Education Minister has signalled his intention to pursue all of the recommendations, either immediately or in designing the delivery structures for the new Education and Skills Authority.

The Minister concluded: “These 53 recommendations form a framework for action. In the coming weeks my Department will publish an action plan setting out how the sector will respond to each recommendation. My expectation is that this work will lead to a more efficient and effective delivery of these key services.”

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