Education Centres are independent statutory bodies under Section 37 of the Education Act (1998) and are managed by voluntary management committees elected annually.
My Department is the main funder of Education Centres through direct budget allocations for administrative staff pay and operating costs. The Education Centres also receive significant funding from the support services which are funded entirely by my Department for the purpose of designing and delivering continuing professional development courses and other professional support for teachers throughout the country.
My Department is currently progressing a programme of governance modernisation to complement and update the previous requirements that Education Centres were required to observe, and in line with a desire to continually improve the governance and accountability structure in the sector. This programme is being informed by the Mazars Review of the Department’s Governance, Funding and Accountability arrangements for Education Support Centres. The Mazars report has been circulated to all Education Centres. In addition, there have been developments in governance requirements for state funded bodies as outlined in the Code of Practice for State Bodies which need to be reflected in the sector.
A Steering Group has been established to lead on the development of a programme of actions for the modernisation of governance and accountability arrangements for Education Centres and to oversee its implementation. The work of this group is supported by an Implementation Group and a number of Working Groups.
With regard to the fee paid to Mazars, it would not be appropriate to release commercially sensitive information which may disadvantage either the contractors or the awarding authority in future mini competitions conducted under the OGP Framework in which Mazars was awarded the contract.