Tuesday 25 September 2012

Clive Heaphy spoke out on Brent school victims of IT scams

Yesterday I tweeted about Brent schools being featured on Panorama's 'Reading, Writing and Rip-offs' last night. This was based on a circular from the council to headteachers.

In fact Brent weren't mentioned as such but Brent schools have had similar experiences, although not as expensive as some reported.

Clive Heaphy  Brent Director of Finance (since suspended while allegations of gross misconduct are investigated) spoke to the Times Educational Supplement about it earlier this year and reported on this blog LINK
Furness Primary is being sued by a finance company for £301,083 plus interest calculated at £14,579 in April and still rising. But Brent Council said the equipment involved was worth just £9,150 when it was sold off by the finance company in February.

Kensal Rise Primary is being sued by the same company for £287,000. Both schools have made counterclaims for money they say they have already paid “in error” - £805,000 in the case of Kensal Rise. The same school has also received a more recent claim from a second finance company for £253,000.

Brent says schools have been tempted into such deals by offers of up to £15,000 “cash back” a quarter from equipment suppliers that make initial lease repayments appear more favourable than the real long-term cost. Clive Heaphy, the authority’s finance director, said that primary heads were not always “business savvy” and cannot always “see through” such offers.
Given the political disagreement about academies Heaphy was very clear with his warning:
 “Inevitably there is a recipe there for difficult times ahead and potentially for some mismanagement issues and possibly some fraud issues,” he told TES, adding that increased autonomy for local authority schools had already made it much harder for town halls to guard against them misusing public money.

“I still retain personal accountability for schools’ finances and yet I see less and less data and have fewer and fewer levers to be able to do anything about it,” Mr Heaphy said. “There is very little action in reality you can take.”

On academies he said: “The only watchdog over them is the Department for Education itself. We have no relationship with them, but who does?”



Pete Firmin said...

Is this whistle-blowing the reason for his suspension?

Martin Francis said...

I don't think it is whistle blowing. I Most of what he said to TES was in public domain anyway via his letters to chair of governors, reports to Council and his statements at Scrutiny.

Martin Francis said...

I received another comment on this blog but haven't published it. This was because it used abusive terminology and named someone else in the council without any evidence. I am happy to publish reasoned comments. See guidelines on side panel.

Anonymous said...

Mr Heaphey should answer the fraud of Brent finance first.
How much has been lost due to mismanagement of brent senior managers. 100s of K. Client money has been misused big time. The truth will be out very soon.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that Council Leader Butt was the resources ie finance lead before he became leader. Who would he work with? The finance director - Mr Heaphy.
And then Mr Heaphy used to work at Ofsted as Finance Director. And who was the Chief Exec atthe time?
Christine Gilbert, now interim CEO of....Brent!
Co-incidence? Maybe but rather a tangled web don't you think.
He hasn't been set up as he?