Management Information Sheet

Norfolk Schools Broadband Fair Funding Clarification for 2011-12

MI Sheet TypeInformation
MI Number:32/11
Publication Date:11/02/2011 12:00:00
LA Contact:ICT Solutions Service Desk (0845 303 3003)
Audience:All staff

Norfolk Schools Broadband Fair Funding Clarification for 2011-12

Update to the Fair Funding Consultation and Services to Schools - full cost recovery model

In response to comments from schools during the ICT Services for Schools Project consultation to clarify charging for Norfolk Schools Broadband Network.

The Fair Funding Consultation document set out the change to Norfolk Schools Broadband Service that would be made as a result of moving to full cost recovery in respect of services to schools, namely:
- withdrawal of subsidy and grant contribution to Norfolk Schools Broadband Network.

The following is extracted from the document:

Norfolk Schools Broadband Network

Norfolk Schools Broadband Network provides a range of connectivity and learning services. The service is charged at a fixed amount per school and schools have a funding allocation identical to the charge. Only those schools connected to the Norfolk Schools Broadband Network receive this funding.

With pressures on the Children's Services budget, £1million of subsidy for the service was withdrawn in 2010/11 and funding for the subsidy was transferred to the Harnessing Technology Grant. In 2011/12 it is proposed to remove the remaining £173,000 of Children's Services budget subsidy. Government is currently reviewing the level of capital grants paid to local authorities and schools and it is uncertain whether ICT spending will be as high a priority for this Government as for the previous Government. The only option is therefore to charge schools the full cost of the service.

The funding provided to schools to pay for this service will also be increased to cover the proposed increase in charges. This will mean that the new level of charge will continue to be 100% funded by a separate funding allocation. This change is made possible because revenue funding previously used to support schools capital ICT spend will no longer be required.

The proposed cost of the service and funding level from 2011/12 will be:
  • Secondary schools £43,840
  • Primary and Special schools £3,680

    Norfolk has an agreed charging methodology that ensures that all schools benefit from a single private network and associated appropriate levels of service which ensures costs get shared and funding operates to ensure no pupil is disadvantaged because of the rural nature of a school or because of the financial situation of a school. This means that charges, particularly for small rural schools do not reflect actual costs, but a school contribution to the overall service.

    Firstly, to clarify in view of the feedback from schools this means:
  • Secondary schools will receive funding of £43,840 into the school budget and will be charged £43,840
  • Primary and special schools will receive funding of £3,680 into the school budget and will be charged £3,680

    Secondly, to clarify the formula for charging which feedback has suggested makes the costs appear expensive compared to other providers. It was agreed with Schools Forum that the charging formula would be based on the aggregated costs of the service across Norfolk leading to single charges for Secondary and Primary sectors.

    This was to ensure that if funding changed in the future rural schools where the cost of connection would be much higher could still afford the service. They would not be disadvantaged compared to urban schools where the cost of connection would be considerably lower.

    Schools Forum therefore agreed the principle of the charges being spread across all schools for the greater good of the county rather than the specific cost to individual schools.

    Based on your feedback during the ICT Service for Schools consultation, we appreciate that schools are concerned about the financial impact on them, if this approach to funding broadband were to change. We can confirm that there is no intention to change this and therefore full funding and subsequent recovery via charges will continue unchanged, in years to come. This will ensure a broadband service for all schools in Norfolk.