There is no such thing as a free lunch, unless you’re running a state funded academies trust that is. In which case you can free everything.


I have been predicting for ages that some of the current (and previous) Government’s reforms like NHS Foundation Trusts, Academies and ‘Free Schools’, and the soon to be Community Commissioning Groups, will undermine financial control and audit in these publicly funded agencies.

In June 2010, for example, I wrote that “Many of the much derided ‘bureaucratic controls’, now so often lambasted, grew up in the first place to prevent corruption and abuse.” Ripping them up was bound to be hazardous, and so it is proving.

So it comes as no surprise that instances of corruption are starting to emerge. Today it is reported that “The Department for Education says there have been “serious failings” in the financial management of a federation of academies in Lincolnshire.” (BBC)

The organisations former Chief Executive appears to have siphoned off tens of thousands of pounds to benefit himself and family members. True, this time the corruption has been uncovered, but as the number of these types of “free” organisations mushroom this will be unlikely to be the last case of its type. organisations multiply

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About Colin Talbot

Professor of Government. Universities of Cambridge and Manchester, England.
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