DCSF funds a number of major spending programmes for schools in England, on which Local Partnerships provides procurement support and advice. Foremost amongst these is the Building Schools for the Future programme, which began in 2003/4 and aims to support the transformation of learning in every secondary school in England through the use of sustained strategic capital investment.
The Department has set up a non-Departmental Public Body, Partnerships for Schools (PfS), to manage this transformation process through investment and on-going service delivery. Local Education Partnerships (LEPs) are being established to deliver school projects using PFI, design and build, ICT, and other forms of contract. The strategic approach to secondary education that underpins the BSF programme embraces Academies, Trust schools, special schools, and the VA sector as well as Community schools.
Local Partnerships provides capacity-building and procurement support to Authorities in the programme to those preparing to be “ready to deliver” for entry, and those seeking to deliver integrated services alongside BSF potentially including priority capital programme initiatives, leisure, health or other prioritised services in collaboration with other external partners. Local Partnerships also run a programme of Gateway Reviews for BSF. These services are detailed under Sector Activity .
Schools PFI projects are also supported by Local Partnerships. These have been developed since 1996 for single school, grouped and multi-school schemes, ICT schemes, and catering facilities. Authorities engaged in contract management of PFI schools are able to rely on a national support network of regular meetings as well as the Community of Practice which provides a wealth of resources.