Strategic Stocktake 2009 - 11

  • The Strategic Stocktake exercise (covering the two year period 2009-10 to 2010-11) was commissioned by DFP on 24 September and details of DE’s proposals were submitted to DFP on 3 November.
  • Details of the Strategic Stocktake pressures for DE were provided to the Education Committee on 25 November (attached below) .
  • The Strategic Stocktake has not yet been considered by the Executive but it is expected that it will be considered at the Executive meeting on 15 January and that following this the Finance Minister will make a Statement to the Assembly on the outcome of the Stocktake exercise.
  • The overall resource pressures registered for DE in the Stocktake exercise (including admin pressures) are £60 million and £50.1 million in 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively. Capital pressures of £90 million in 2010-11 were also submitted to DFP.
  • Clearly the way in which pressures would be addressed for DE in 2009-10 and 2010-11 is dependent on the outcome of the Strategic Stocktake exercise.
  • Whilst the outcome of the Strategic Stocktake cannot be confirmed until after consideration by the Executive our expectation is that it is unlikely that additional resources will be made available at this time and the emerging pressures will have to be managed in year.
  • Key pressures for DE include:
    • Inflationary pressures for schools / ELBs
    • The cost of maintaining Extended schools at current levels
    • Cost of implementation of Job Evaluations
    • Revised arrangements for premature retirement costs
  • In addition, the Irish Medium review is being taken forward and it will be important to secure the necessary resources to implement the outcome of this review.
  • In the absence of additional resources these costs will have to be considered in the context of available resources and competing priorities .



2008 Strategic Stocktake

1. For the Strategic Stocktake exercise Departments were asked to identify reduced requirements; bids; proposed reductions/internal reallocations to manage their own emerging pressures; and details of any technical issues to be addressed. This exercise did not provide an opportunity for Departments to resubmit bids previously submitted in the Budget 2007 exercise but provided for consideration of new inescapable pressures which have emerged since the Budget 2007 was agreed and which could not be fully met from changes to the Department’s budget due to the extent of the pressure.

Reduced Requirements/Proposed Reductions and Reallocations

2. A review of the existing baselines was carried out and no reduced requirements or proposed reductions/reallocations were submitted to DFP for consideration.

Resource Bids

3. In overall terms DE has submitted resource bids of £54.6/£45.2 million in 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively along with a bid of £1.4/£1.4 million in respect of the Integrated Development Fund. Details on each of these are set out below. A summary table setting out the resource bids together with bids to cover admin and capital pressures is attached at Table 1.

i. Maintaining the Extended Schools Programme at 2008-09 levels (£6.4/£0 million) – an additional £5 million has been made available in the 2008/09 September monitoring round to allow participation by schools in this programme to continue at 2007-08 levels. The Minister has previously indicated that there is scope to address this pressure in 2010-11 but a shortfall of £6.4 million exists in 2009-10. If this gap is not addressed this will mean a significant reduction in this valuable service, which as well as attracting significant adverse reaction from schools and other key stakeholders, will lead to a significant loss of momentum and capacity development because of the stop go nature of the funding profile.

ii. Pay Pressures for costs of Job Evaluations / Pay Reviews (£8.4/£7.9 million) -separately from the normal inflationary pay costs, there are a number of pay related pressures facing the education sector as a result of regrading / job evaluations which were not known at Budget 2007 stage and which have now been agreed or are expected to be agreed shortly. The groups affected include cleaners, music tutors, part-time youth workers, Education Welfare Officers, General and domestic assistants and these represent a significant and inescapable pressure on the Education budget.

iii. Maintaining Existing Service Levels (£8.8/£9.1 million) - recent rises in energy and utility costs since the 2007 Budget outcome was announced have created a significant inescapable pressure for Boards and schools.

iv. Youth Sector Development(£2.5/£2.6 million) – this bid would provide for a real terms increase in the youth budget and would provide more capacity in the sector to improve access to facilities and create more opportunities for some of the most vulnerable young people in our society to engage in positive activities; have their social and personal development needs considered and met; and promote equity and diversity.

v. Uniforms for Primary School Pupils (£1.5/£1.6 million) – this bid is to provide funding for school uniforms for primary schools pupils. At present Education and Library Boards are funded to help parents on low incomes to pay for school uniforms for children attending post-primary schools and this bid would extend funding to primary schools thus ensuring equity of treatment.

vi. Job Evaluation for Classroom Assistants, Cleaners and Groundspeople in the VGS/GMIS sectors (£3.2/£1.6 million) – this bid is to provide funding to enable similar pay terms for VGS / GMIS staff in these groups on the basis of equality with staff in the same grades employed by ELBs.

vii. Teachers Pension / Redundancy Costs(£22.7/£19.5 million on an ‘invest to save’ basis) – from 2009 the costs of teachers’ premature retirement compensation will no longer be met by the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. Instead the costs will have to be met by the employers of the individual teachers from their existing budgets. These revised arrangements will bring the scheme here into line with that in England and it will represent a significant saving to the public purse. Whilst the need for these new arrangements, to secure more efficient use of public funding, is fully recognised it is also recognised that the discontinuation of allincentives to enable voluntary redundancy is likely to have a negative impact in areas where such intervention would be desirable e.g. rationalisation of the schools estate and facilitating the entry of young teachers into permanent full time employment. Whilst the resources required to facilitate this would be significant they would ultimately secure greater efficiency on the overall use of public funding.

viii. Early Years Strategy (£1.0/£3.0 million) - The Early Years Strategy, which is aimed at bringing the various different elements and funding streams together, will shortly be ready for public consultation. Findings of the strategy indicate the need for a dedicated programme for 2 year olds as the current provision may not be developmentally appropriate; effective collaborative partnerships at regional and local level to develop integrated children’s services (centres of expertise) for services to become child and family focussed; and a high quality and qualified early years workforce with continued professional development.

ix. Integrated Development Fund (IDF) (£1.4/1.4 million) - at the outcome of Budget 2007 the Department of Education was advised that £3.0/£1.5 million would be made available in 2008-09 and 2009-10 respectively for the continuation of IDF funded projects. The key IDF programme for DE is the West Belfast/Greater Shankill Initiative. Latest indications are that there will be slippage in 2008-09 and that these resources will be required in 2009-10 (there is no automatic EYF on this fund). In addition, funding is sought to allow the projects to continue in 2010-11.

Capital bids

4. Schools capital (£0/£90.0 million) - at the conclusions of the Budget 2007 and Investment Strategy processes it was recognised that the profile of capital allocations for the Education Programme was significantly out of line with the profile of anticipated requirements based on the existing 100 major works school projects, particularly in the third year of the budget (2010-11). The requirement to have full capital budget cover for PPP projects in the year in which they come on stream means that the anticipated profile of delivery of several PPP projects has a significant impact in 2010-11. The additional resources would provide a budget profile that more closely reflects the profiling of the existing school projects and would therefore enable them to continue to progress. Failure to secure additional resources would mean that some projects would need to be slowed down or halted until sufficient resources were available in the subsequent years.

Admin bids

Admin bid (£4.0/3.5 million) - the Department continues to face significant pressures on its admin budget in the Stocktake period largely due to the fact that RPA work streams are likely to be required beyond April 2009.



Table 1

Bids – (Not in priority order)








Maintaining Extended Schools at 2008-09 Level



Job Evaluations/Pay Reviews



Maintaining Existing Service Levels - energy and utilities costs



Youth Services Budget Real Terms Increase



Uniforms for Primary School Pupils



Job Evaluations: Classroom Assistants, Cleaners and Groundspeople in VGS & GMIS sectors



Revised Arrangements for Pension/ Redundancy Costs



Early Years











DE Admin Costs




Schools Capital



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