Education Services Company (DONESC)
The Diocese of Norwich's education support services company provides back office services to schools.
An essential part of our Education Strategy is to provide a number of high-quality value for money services thereby taking much of this responsibility from the Headteacher and local governing bodies and gaining cost advantages. This allows school leaders to concentrate on educating children, teaching and learning and working with the local community.
Established in September 2019, our education support services company provides back office services, but not school improvement support. It is jointly owned by the DMATs but its board of directors includes three independent directors to give balance and bring appropriate expertise. It is a ‘not for profit company’. The company’s objective is to provide high quality, value for money services for all the Diocesan academies and any VC or VA schools who wish to procure their services from it.
Robust governance and risk management ensures any potential conflicts of interest are managed well. There are clear, formal contracts for all services provided across DMATs and with VA / VC schools to ensure transparency and the ability to monitor value for money (VFM). At least every 2 years a VFM report is produced. Every 3 years an independent reviewer will check the costs of the services provided by the company against those available in the market. This will ensure that the DMATs and schools are still obtaining value for money for these services. This approach will give consistency of financial probity, policy implementation and risk management.
By developing this work within one company there are efficiencies and savings that can be made. The objectives set for the company are to:
- ensure high quality, VFM services are provided for academies and schools;
- ensure systems and performance meet legal and funding body requirements;
- maximise opportunities for driving through cost savings to allow greater investment in front line services;
- actively encourage and positively respond to customer feedback; and to
- ensure a risk-based approach is taken supported by robust risk management.