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Panorama programme tonight on how our schools have been ripped off.


CliveH

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Interesting programme tonight - BBC 20:30 - looks like some Teachers/Head Teachers thought it OK to sign amazing contracts with Public Funds.

 

From the quote below from the BBC website one Teacher was suspended after agreeing to a contract that bought just 125 Laptops for £500,000 (that's £4000 each!!!!)

 

Good to know our taxpayers money is in safe hands.

 

 

 

"Her (Ms Steel) school was left owing more than £500,000 for 125 laptops.

 

She said: "When the auditor came in, supposedly to count the equipment, he just sat down and told us that it was a colossal scam. And it was like my world had just fallen apart."

 

Ms Steel had signed the deal after being told the school could lease as many laptops as necessary and, because of corporate sponsorship, would not have to pay for them.

 

DTS initially paid the lease instalments to the bank but when it then went into administration the school was left to pick up the repayment schedule. She only realised what had happened when Clydesdale Bank's auditor arrived to count the equipment.

 

Ms Steel was suspended immediately by the local authority and eventually resigned."

 

 

........................

 

I am no fan of Private Schools and have nothing against them either - but I would bet a £ to a penny that no Private School signed up because there the normal rules of due dilligence apply.

 

But once again it seems that when it is taxpayers money such normal checks are ignorred by those in charge.

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It would seem so Dave - but it seems Clydsdale Bank is going to honour their responsibilities so fair play to them on that. But what gets me (again!) is how those in the Public Sector seem to have the ability to make financial decisions with little or no checks.

 

We had the same thing with local councils placing taxpayers money with Icelandic Banks when the financial press was awash with warnings about how dodgy those banks were months before so there was excuse - they just did no checking at all. Some councils did the proper due diligence checks and moved the funds they were in charge of elsewhere but some didn't. And despite losing thousands were let off.

 

To me the banks seem to be part of this latest scam but only in as much as they provided banking services for the other parties - I am not sure they endorsed or even knew what was going on. But to be fair I do not know the details and do not have a lot of faith in the BBC to be honest and impartial. But I live in hope :)

 

 

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It could be argued that a head teacher and a board of governors should have had more sense than to expect free computers from a private company to actually be free no matter how attractive it may seem at the time?

 

But then teachers always were a bit naive - like so many public servants who are shielded from the realities of the real business and scam world?

 

On the other hand they are not professional managers or finance directors so how could they be expected to know a duff contract when they see one?

 

So why did they not get the deal checked out by a qualified solicitor with contract experience and that alone to my way of thinking qualifies as gross negligence?

 

Nevertheless it seems very harsh that a well meaning and seemingly honest head teacher lost her career over this mistake. The punishment once again seems to me to be disproportionate to the crime - what crime - no crime - just a big mistake ?

 

Witch hunt and scapegoat society strikes again - always good to have someone to crucify for any cock ups

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Tracker - 2012-09-24 8:14 PM

 

But then teachers always were a bit naive - like so many public servants who are shielded from the realities of the real business and scam world?

Please qualify this crass remark with facts please.

I doubt if you will and it will be a case of firing off without making sure your brain is in gear...........as is usual.

My wife was a teacher and is certainly not as you describe and finds your unsubstantiated comments very offensive.

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I too have a lot of sympathy for the Head Teachers on the receiving end of the fallout from the scam. However should we continue to allow those in the Public Sector to make such bad decisions with public money and not be held responsible in some way?

 

Certainly I regularly come across those in the public sector (NHS) that are incredibly inept in things financial with the arrogant attitude of those sure that the gravy train alway flows in their direction.

 

So I doubt Teachers are less susceptible to that particular naive arrogance that can prove so enormously costly.

 

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peter - 2012-09-24 8:49 PM

 

Tracker - 2012-09-24 8:14 PM

 

But then teachers always were a bit naive - like so many public servants who are shielded from the realities of the real business and scam world?

Please qualify this crass remark with facts please.

I doubt if you will and it will be a case of firing off without making sure your brain is in gear...........as is usual.

My wife was a teacher and is certainly not as you describe and finds your unsubstantiated comments very offensive.

 

The mouth of the Witham strikes again !! Do you honestly believe that you are so important that I would set out to aim an insult specifically at your wife - if so you really are a pathetic little man, apart from which I would be very surprised if your wife is even aware of this thread - unless you told her of it?

 

Read the postings properly for once instead of selectively and you will note that I do have a great deal of sympathy for the teachers involved.

 

That said they are not blameless and that is naive at best and negligent at worst by anyone's standards.

 

Unsubstantiated eh? I had enough years talking to teachers regarding finance, insurance, investments and pensions to form a point of view and believe me many (but obviously not all) of them were naive to the point of bloodymindedness at times. It seems that I am not alone in this experience of publicly paid employees.

 

Many of them also had a huge hang up about anyone commission earning (which I was, as well as salaried) at that time yet failed to see that by selling their own ability to teach to the local authority they were doing exactly the same that we all do to make a living - selling our skills and abilities.

 

If I had intended to insult your wife, which by the way never having met her I have no reason to and would never do, I would have used different words.

 

As it is the poor lady has enough to contend with living with a rude nasty and thoroughly unpleasant work of art like you who never has a kind word to say to anyone on any subject and is only capable of posting insults generally under the pretence of humour. She has my sympathy.

 

Grow up and act your age Peter.

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Peter you do like to wind Tracker up and I too look at your comments and I find myself agreeing with Tracker most of the time about your actions when you "engage" with him on here - as for the other points Tracker makes re Teachers per se - I fnd myself in agreement with those points as well. No doubt Tracker came across Teachers in his role as a "Man from the Pru" because the Pru ran part of the Teachers pension scheme - the in-house AVC scheme. From my perspective I have had Teachers tell me I am wrong when despite my knowing that the old style scheme they were in had the tax free cash controlled by the 3n/80's of Final Salary - they would tell me I was wrong because they had read somewhere that it was 25% of the value.

 

They would state this with all the authority of someone who normaly only deals with a captive audience of children.

 

One truly obnoxious individual even complained about my pointing out the reality of his situation - not because I was right and he was wrong (after all he had to accept that - because I was! (lol) ) but because I had the audacity to tell him he was wrong!

 

I am serious!

 

His actual complaint was that he didn't think it was "appropriate" that he should be told he was wrong!

 

My boss at the time wrote to him rejecting his complaint and asking if he thought someone with such a blinkerred attitude was suitable to be a Teacher.

 

So like Tracker - no offence to your good lady - and these comment do not apply to each and every Teacher - but on balance - the fact that they do only deal with children on the whole and work in the education "bubble" does make them ill-suited to make any decisions concerning large sums of public money in my view - a view based upon years of experience.

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Very well put Clive and once again I find myself agreeing with everything you say.

 

I can't remember the individual details of most of my encounters with the teaching profession both within the AVC scheme and without (well it was 20 or more years ago and not really that important in the grand scheme of things in my life at the time) but they often, not always it must be said, but often broadly follow the lines of what Clive recounts.

 

My original posting was not an attack on teachers - just a point of view gained from experience - and I consider that posting a balanced opinion that does not insult or attack any one particular person is a fair posting.

 

Come to think of it I have never had a go at or insulted anyone on this or any other forum unless they have chosen to go for an unprovoked go at me first so I make no apology for posting my own point of view and experiences.and for defending it.

 

Now perhaps we can let this be an end to it.

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I find the same sort of issue with the Medical Profession Tracker - GP's in particular are in the top 5% re intelligence here in the UK but often make some truly bizarre decisions re matters financial.

 

The issue is surely that they do not get trained in matters financial.

 

The last government dealt with this by the new contract (nGMS & PMS) in 2004 which required that GP's made a profit and it was this profit that governed their income and NHSPS level. The resulting mess was such (GP's realised they had a vested interest in NOT referring patients on) that the PCT's had to be expanded to control the debacle which in many ways made it worse because most of the people in the PCT's were the wrong side of mediocre in the financial competence stakes.

 

Again the best example of this was probably those Local Governments that were unable to read even the most basic of financial facts about Icelandic Banks - some did and took advice to move funds away and saved the Taxpayer a fortune. Others did not but not too worry!! :-S after all it is only taxpayers money!!

 

(AND - let's not forget that it was Trackers old company - the dear old Prudential that stepped in and guaranteed all private investors money whilst the claims went ahead in Iceland - but of course corporate investors are not part of the scheme to which Pru stepped up to - because corporate investors ARE SUPPOSED TO FOLLOW DUE DILIGENCE RULES AND TAKE PROPER ADVICE - and whilst this does apply in the Public Sector - cockups rarely result in any change - because as I say - it is only taxpayers money and plenty more where that came from has always been the mantra of the Public Sector.)

 

It does worry me that in the Coalitions rush to divorce many sections of Labours predilection for control freakery - they are not making sure that the people such as Teachers and GP's who generally do their jobs very well indeed are suddenly tasked with running a large business with a substantial turnover.

 

Get it right and we could all be onto a winner - but if the unions keep the gravy train running it will all be a waste.

 

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Once again I agree with everything you say Clive.

 

You cannot expect a trained teacher who is a specialist in their field to be able to run a multi million pound business, as well as teach, much as you cannot expect a company ceo or accountant to teach unruly kids as well as run a business - although I suspect that many could do that multi tasking quite well!

 

Horses for courses.

 

Not only the medical profession Clive, as you can include many people from almost every branch and aspect of publicly funded employees as financially inept to the point of being blind to the real world issues of what money does and does not do.

 

I'm darned glad I'm out of it and enjoying a comfortable retirement - thanks to the good old Pru!

 

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Picking up Clive's and Richard's points about teachers (and heads) not being trained in running big "businesses:"

 

When I was a school governor, in the early years of what was then called "local management of schools," (late 1980s) we were told that, once all the elected places were filled and we started to look at "co-opting" governors, we had to ensure that the local business community was "represented."

This wasn't so that they could dictate policy, but because we'd need their skills and experience in the new financial setup.

In other words, a bunch of people giving their time and expertise for free were going to be the ultimate can-carriers for school financial policy! Small wonder then, that it eventually turned out to be head teachers who ended up having to run things in most cases!

 

This was, of course, a way of saving money - imagine the cost of each school having to pay regularly for legal, financial and business advice!

 

So the problem isn't so much a GREEDY public sector, more one which can't afford the expertise it really needs, so relies on teachers who, in this field, are amateurs. Of course they'll get it wrong sometimes - the wonder is that there are so FEW financial scandals in education!

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CliveH - 2012-09-25 12:37 PM

So, Tracker - you didn't mind the pru using some of your money to prop up people who ignorred advice and cautions that clearly stated months before the crunch point that those sort of rates of interest HAD to be dodgy (lol)

 

What is it that they call it when the cost of a disaster is spread over many contributors to benefit the few on the grounds that you never know whether you will be one of the many or one of the few - oh yes - I remember - it's called insurance!!

 

I was (still am) unaware of the Pru's role in the Icelandic debacle but they are not stupid and one assumes that there must have been compelling reasons for their actions?

 

That said the Pru is also capable of some almighty cock ups - remember estate agency!

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Actually Tracker - the Pru stepped in to stop the debacle getting worse and destabilising things. The Pru acted honorably and with great skill.

 

Shame the same cannot be said of those in charge of policy!

 

The FSA allowed Icelandic banks whose gearing was obscene to open a branch in the UK rather than be a bank in the UK which according to the FSA at the time was ok such that Icelandic Banks could say that they were "Regulated by the FSA".

 

When in fact the FSA did sod all and had very little jusisdiction over them.

 

That FSA logo gave many the impression all was OK.

 

But then I suppose - the FSA did such a sterling job with Northern Rock I doubt it made a lot of difference because the FSA bods were all asleep at the wheel anyway. :-S

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Missed the programe, but have set DVR to record next broadcast.

Have looked at reports and had some discussions at work over this and my thoughts are it's a sign of things to come, health service next I would think.

I remember the changes being promoted by government, saying things like "We need to put finances and purchasing in the hands of those who know best what they need" i.e. headmasters. So let me think, there will have been a load of breurocrats made redundant with (proboly) large payoffs now millions lost to con artists, well that worked well 8-)

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Yes - my fears exactly Colin:-S

 

The disproportionate number of PubSec workers interfering in the process has to be dealt with - but without a proper management training scheme for those that migrate from the coal face to the control position all will be a lost cause.

 

Labours idea was to increase the number of pubsec employees in areas of the UK where unemployment was high and so improve the unemployment fig's as well as exert control AND improve the chances of the local Labour candidate.

 

But this is like pyramid selling in the end the pyramid collapses under the sheer number of unsustainable jobs.

 

I do not want to put words in Pelmetmans mouth - but I think he has made it quite clear that having once been an employer and been subject to all the numpties and numpty rules he effectively plans his life to be a non-taxpayer. And I know many many people from all walks of life that want to do much the same.

 

And there is a HUGE danger here because if we want to become a basket case economy such as Greece then this is the way it starts.

 

Only today I had a client telling me that she is "bu99ered if she wants to pay tax" if like the Queen she is appalled that a known advocate of terrorism has taken circa £2.7M of UK taxpayer money (source article in Telegraph) in benefits (he lost his hands when a bomb he was carrying went off prematurely and under our rules this makes him eligible for disability benefits) and he also gets legal aid and as he has eight children he gets a fair wack of child benefit as well. This lady is a retired Practice Manager aged 69.

 

She is adamant that if her tax £'s are going to be spent like that then she did not want to pay taxes!

 

I fully empathise with her - but fear that without reasonable taxes society as we know it will be unsustainable. The problem is that taxes are not seen to be reasonable and what the tax £ is spent on even less reasonable still.

 

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Guest pelmetman
CliveH - 2012-09-25 5:09 PM

 

 

I do not want to put words in Pelmetmans mouth - but I think he has made it quite clear that having once been an employer and been subject to all the numpties and numpty rules he effectively plans his life to be a non-taxpayer. And I know many many people from all walks of life that want to do much the same.

 

 

 

I'm still an employer Clive ;-)................I employ er in doors :D............I pay her so much I didn't have much left to pay myself 8-) ...................oh well no tax bill again this year B-)

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Guest Peter James
Tony Jones - 2012-09-25 12:43 PM

there are so FEW financial scandals in education!

 

do you think we get to hear about them all *-)

Clear from the programme that the people involved were not keen to talk about it.

 

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