Consultants charging for 'useless advice'

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The Independent Online

Teachers are planning to raise concerns that private consultants are being paid "exorbitant fees" to advise schools.

A resolution due to be debated at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference in Liverpool next week warns that the advice provided by consultants is sometimes "useless or worse". The motion is being proposed by Hank Roberts, an association member from Brent.

Mr Roberts claimed that he had been told of a case in which consultants were paid around £1,000 for a day's work.

In another instance, they received £700 for only an afternoon of working, he said.

"Education is not a performance-making institution where you can come along with an idea to save money," Mr Roberts said. "We're educators." He provided another example in which private consultants were brought in to help with a restructuring. That is something that schools and unions can deal with themselves, he said.

The motion calls on the conference to "deplore the exorbitant fees paid to a small number of private consultants who give advice that is sometimes useless or worse".

It adds: "This results in the expenditure of staff time and money to no useful end."

Mr Roberts will also raise concerns about senior managers at schools attending "junkets in expensive hotels", which is "completely out of order".

"This is wrong at any time, but especially at this time, this shouldn't be going on," Mr Roberts said. "We are in a time of economic difficulties."

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