assessment by OFSTED of the performance of Serco/QAA in running
school improvement and associated strategic management functions in
Walsall. Because of the continuing weaknesses in many services run
government and Walsall MBC will appoint consultants to advise on
whether more services should be transferred to Serco/QAA.
The consultants will advise on which of the education services that
the LEA supplies should be transferred to its strategic partner,
Serco/QAA, because they have been judged by OFSTED to be inadequate.
Ms Morris said:
'OfSTED has commended the rapid progress made by Serco/QAA since
September last year in restructuring and redefining the services to
support schools, and in the quality of service delivery. But the LEA
has not made the improvements expected of it. Parents and pupils
'The Ofsted re-inspection report makes clear that many education
services in Walsall are continuing to fail children and do not
support schools. The council is performing many of its
responsibilities unsatisfactorily. This is unacceptable.
'OfSTED has reported that 'the overall performance of the LEA remains
very poor' and there is no doubt about the gravity of the situation.'
'In light of the seriousness of the report, I have agreed with the
council that further action is needed and I welcome the decision by
the chief executive and members to support this consultancy. We are
looking to the consultants to advise on the most effective and
coherent organisation of education services under a revised contract
in order to give schools and pupils in Walsall the services they
'We need a solution that will best serve the needs of Walsall's
pupils and schools, no matter how radical. Consultants will have
four weeks to review the performance of LEA retained services and
advise on transfer arrangements.'
1. The first critical inspection report on Walsall LEA was published
by OfSTED in December 1999. Following this report, a private sector
company was brought in to deliver many of the LEA's school
improvement services. The contract with Serco/QAA was signed in July
2. Under the terms of the contract, if the secretary of state
decides that any of the services retained by the council is being
performed inadequately, the council and the contractor must negotiate
the transfer of such services to the contractor.
3. The Ofsted re-inspection report on education services in Walsall
was published on 10 April 2002 and is available here .