Official 128-page guide to red tape

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The Independent Online

Ministers, who have been accused by teachers of generating more red tape than any government in history, gave schools a lesson in how to beat bureaucracy yesterday.Two documents that run to 128 pages in total tell teachers "Keep the paper down. Are all the memos sent to staff needed?" They ask questions such as "What is bureaucracy?" The reply, it seems, is paperwork not related directly to pupils' education. Teachers say that includes most of the bureaucracy spawned by ministerial initiatives. The Government's "bureaucracy cutting toolkit" wrestles with a few contradictions. While it acknowledges the simplest way of saying no is to stop replying to requests for information, it draws back from the notion that forms might be ignored. "This is potentially high risk and should certainly not be used where information is required by law."It suggests that schools should appoint a project manager to map out activities and weigh up how important they are. But it adds: "You will not want to burden the project manag

Ministers, who have been accused by teachers of generating more red tape than any government in history, gave schools a lesson in how to beat bureaucracy yesterday.Two documents that run to 128 pages in total tell teachers "Keep the paper down. Are all the memos sent to staff needed?" They ask questions such as "What is bureaucracy?" The reply, it seems, is paperwork not related directly to pupils' education. Teachers say that includes most of the bureaucracy spawned by ministerial initiatives. The Government's "bureaucracy cutting toolkit" wrestles with a few contradictions. While it acknowledges the simplest way of saying no is to stop replying to requests for information, it draws back from the notion that forms might be ignored. "This is potentially high risk and should certainly not be used where information is required by law."It suggests that schools should appoint a project manager to map out activities and weigh up how important they are. But it adds: "You will not want to burden the project manager with unwanted bureaucracy - particularly in a bureaucracy-cutting project! - but he or she should still be held accountable for progress."The toolkit says schools should also try to find the money to appoint administrative staff. The Government announced yesterday that it is giving an extra pounds 80m to small schools to help free teachers to concentrate on teaching.Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said these exercises were of little value when the Government piled on "initiative after initiative". He asked: "I wonder if implementing the toolkit could mean schools saying no to some of the suggestions that come from the Government itself."

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