Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Has Leighton Andrews inadvertedly made the job of cutting the Welsh Assembly’s budget easier over the next couple of years?

His review of education spending within Wales, published yesterday, found that almost a third of expenditure in the sector was spent on administration.

Clearly, the aim of the review was to put the case for moving funding away from administration and towards frontline services.

Mr Andrews himself says that :

"The review is not about cuts in funding, but freeing up resources by changing the balance in funding between front line and support services."

Yet, by suggesting that cuts in administration can be made without directly affecting the current frontline provision in Wales, some would argue that he has helped to make the case that there are efficiency savings that can be made by reducing administration and bureaucracy.

Hardly the type of proposed cuts which, according to Betsan Powys, had "absolutely terrified" some Labour members in the Chamber yesterday.

It also begs a number of serious questions on the management of government funding within Wales?

For example if over a billion pounds is being spent on administration within education, what of the other departments within the Assembly Government?

Also, why has the Labour Party allowed such a situation to develop during the last decade? It can hardly blame anyone else for this situation?

More importantly, given Mr Andrews' forensic conclusions, shouldn’t the First Minister be ordering a similar review of expenditure to be undertaken within all other Assembly departments?

Indeed, given the new spirit of co-operation between Cardiff Bay and Westminster, perhaps the WAG civil servants who carried out the education review can be loaned to the new Government as they begin their review of government spending.