Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills
In July 2010 I launched the Front Line Resources Review, a one-year programme to develop and deliver a plan to shift education resources from back office support functions to front line services. This Review was my response to the report I commissioned from PwC on the cost of administering the education system in Wales, which found that 32% of public expenditure on education in 2008-2009 was spent on strategic and support services. The PwC report suggested that there was an opportunity to shift a significant proportion of that resource to front line services and set out ten hypotheses as to how this could be done. The aim of the Front Line Resources Review was to turn those hypotheses into actions, both by identifying quick wins and by developing medium and longer-term action to be mainstreamed across all sectors of education.
I have today published a One Year On report, which marks the completion of that programme. This report set out what has been done and what actions will now follow. A delivery plan will now go forward through the core business plans of my Department and other stakeholders.
Alongside the Front Line Resources Review, I also commissioned an independent task and finish group to examine the structure of education services in Wales, except higher education. Their report was published on 29 March 2011. It is a significant contribution to the drive to shift resources to the education front line. But it is also more than that. It takes a long-term, whole system view. The review group’s primary objective was to ensure that the education system is structured in a way that will deliver sustained improvement to learner attainment across Wales.
I have now published a written response to the recommendations in that report. As I said in the plenary debate yesterday, I am accepting them all. Where the recommendations are for my Department to take forward, we will be doing so as part of our core business, alongside and as part of the focus on the front line. Some of the recommendations will require further consideration of the detail of implementation I will be making further statements on some of the recommendations in due course. Where the recommendations are primarily for others to take forward, we will be encouraging, supporting and where necessary challenging.