Friday, 23 October 2009

Are Local Authorities fit for purpose?

Sale of Goods Act. The Act specifies that any product sold must be fit for purpose. This means that a product must conform to its description and be of a certain quality.


OK, now. We are consumers of the LAs duties. We consume the declarations they make, and we have to jump to their demands.... They like to make the rules, and they love to make the running. They demand, and we may find ourselves shaking in our stylish but affordable slippers.

However, what if we turn the idea on its head and see what it is the LA near you is supplying you with? What are you getting from the enormous amount of council tax that you are paying these – er, hem - public servants?

Is the service they provide you with fit for purpose?

What is the LA supposed to do? Well, it has a duty of care to any child in its schools. Does it indeed fail that duty of care? Does it provide an education: a sufficient and efficient and effective education? Does it to every child?

When you meander or flee out of the school gates at the end of the very last lesson in the top class of school, do you feel that you can learn no more, that you are replete with learning, that your education is complete and rounded? Are you ready to take on any job? Climb any mountain? Bounce from school to the hallowed halls of university or academy of excellence? Fly to the stars, touch them and come back with a handful of sustaining starshine?

In all my years I've yet to meet anyone who thinks that their schooling was 'fit for purpose'.

You are a pupil in a school. The school ignores the fact that you are bullied pretty continuously and nastily even though your mother has complained forever and the school has told you – to shift the blame and to perpetuate the bullying -that it's your fault. The bullies are made librarians and your secret sanctuary has been busted and the other bullies get you outside and kick you in the crotch. Then they have you up against the wall and lay into you.

Does the LA get involved? Do they say sorry and that they will defend you from now on from the bullies? Do they assure you that the duty of care they have to you will now be executed carefully and to the best of their ability? DO THEY GIVE A BURNING CIGARETTE BUTT?

So are the LA services fit for purpose?

Would they pass the 'fit for purpose' test?


So what are they good for? Like war, they are good for absolutely nothing.

If they are already good for absolutely nothing, why are they there?

Why do we support a system that is so bent and twisted?

That we have to look at being CONSUMERS to receive what we are due as human beings tells us that there is something wrong with our society. When we buy an item, it must be fit for purpose or we have the means for legal redress. Yet when our freedom to home educate as we will and as our children will is under threat, where is our legal redress? Where are our knights in shining armour? In any kind of armour?

If, as I argue here, the local authorities cannot defend the weak in their care, cannot oversee and guarantee a reasonable standard of education and cannot do anything for home educators beyond cause them anguish and agony, are they in fact FIT FOR PURPOSE?

I will leave you to answer as you see fit.


  1. Spot on, Danae! I've been shocked by web-postings on non-HE sites where people see themselves as having a duty to LAs rather than vice versa. The ptb have pulled off a major act of misdirection there.