A new report published by the New Local Government Network (NLGN), argues that the centralised nature of the£45bn programme and its procurement procedures means that opportunities to harness local benefits are not always realised.
Concerns centre on the prioritisation of resources, delays in the programme and the design of the new schools.
There is considerable scope to devolve decision-making to local people and elected representatives so that wider strategic goals can be met, it says.
The report argues BSF projects should be more closely tied into Sustainable Community Strategies , Local Area Agreements and, where relevant, Multi Area Agreements in order to secure wider community goals.
The report recommends a more pivotal role for Local Strategic Partnerships in the process and putting council leaders at the head of delivery bodies.
It suggests new freedoms for local authorities to design and pilot their own procurement procedures and make better use of sub-regional partnerships through MAAs.
And it pushes for less central prescription of design processes to allow greater local innovation and variation.
Nigel Keohane, the report’s author and senior NLGN researcher, said: “Currently the mechanisms for delivering the BSF policy hamper the local vision and strategic integration that are necessary to make these new buildings transform their environments and their pupils. Government should look to remove central prescription so that local input is allowed to come to the fore.
"This new generation of schools can have a positive impact not only on the learning environment, but also on a local community’s skills profile, regeneration projects, leisure and civic life, even on health issues and congestion.
"But, these are very complex interrelated policy areas and this thinking can only occur by joining-up strategy at the local level."