FOI release

Request for numbers, costs, contracts and pay of academy brokers

Details of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the number of academy brokers employed by the department, tasked with encouraging schools to become academies, and copies of all contracts.

Documents

Schedule one school broker contract

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Detail

  • Date requested: 17 April 2013
  • Publish date: 24 June 2013

Request

  1. Information on the number of academy brokers - consultants or officials - employed by the department tasked with encouraging schools to become academies, employed in the years 2010 to 2011; 2011 to 2012 and 2012 to 2013, stating:
    • their overall cost
    • the number of academy brokers on a performance-related pay scheme
    • details of each of the performance-related pay schemes
  2. Copies of all contracts (including any element of performance-related pay) for academy brokers employed by the department. The information should be in an excel spreadsheet or csv format.

Release

We are defining the request as school brokers and sponsor development advisers.

Q1. The number of brokers contracted by the department in the 3 financial years was:

  • 2010 to 2011: 12
  • 2011 to 2012: 24
  • 2012 to 2013: 43

Please also refer to the answer to parliamentary question HL5618. At 17 April 2013 the department contracted with 37 academies brokers:

  • the budget for 2010-11 was £1,497,856
  • the budget for 2011 to 2012 was given in PO HL 5618
  • the budget for 2012 to 2013 was given in PQ 158108
  • brokers are not contracted on performance-related pay schemes

Q2. Redacted copies of the contracts for the supply of educational advice in the role of both school broker and sponsor development adviser are attached.

The names and other personal information is being withheld because it is exempt under Section 40(2) of the act which provides for personal data, such as names, to be exempt from disclosure where its release, otherwise than under the act, would contravene the principles under the Data Protection Act 1998. This is an absolute exemption and requires no public interest consideration.

The number of brokers used by the department has increased due to a very rapid expansion of the academies’ programme, which has opened opportunities up to primary as well as secondary schools. The programme has been successful in raising standards with results in sponsored academies improving at a faster rate than other state-funded schools. The longer they are open the better on average they do, with GCSE results improving far faster than other state-funded schools.

Brokers have been instrumental in brokering 510 sponsored academy solutions since September 2010, improving education opportunities for thousands of children. The department has been using brokers on similar contracted arrangements since 2004.

The department requires special expertise for the broker role that it cannot find within the civil service. Their expertise needs to be deployed flexibly in different parts of the country. These and other needs are best secured through a contracted service. This type of engagement also achieves value for money for the taxpayer; it would be far more expensive to employ brokers on permanent terms. The department has reduced day rates significantly since 2010 and will continue to do so.

The proportion of pupils in sponsored secondary academies that achieved 5 good GCSEs (including English and maths) increased by 3.1 percentage points between 2011 and 2012. This compares with a 0.6 percentage point increase across all state-funded schools.

Amongst sponsored primary academies, the proportion of pupils achieving level 4 or above in mathematics increased by 7 percentage points between 2011 and 2012. This compares with a 4 percentage points increase across all state-funded schools.