24 Sep 2013

Govt revamping its management of school property

7:26 pm on 24 September 2013

The Government says it is transforming the way it manages its $10 billion school property portfolio in the wake of a critical independent report.

It says changes announced on Tuesday will improve the Education Ministry's oversight of school property, and make it easier for schools to contract out responsibility for day-to-day maintenance.

The ministry asked engineering consultancy Beca to review its management of school property.

The report says the new schools programme is performing poorly from start to finish.

It cites problems including doors too heavy for small children to open, fittings too expensive for schools to replace, and landscape materials that look good but are no good for playing on.

Principals and school trustees told the review they should be involved in the design process earlier.

The report says it is not convinced the ministry solved the problems by setting up a new schools team two years ago.

The ministry says it will review its processes if evaluations of new schools after they are occupied show there are problems.

Associate education minister Nikki Kaye says the ministry will set up a dedicated team to help schools solve property problems faster and give them the option of contracting out their day-to-day maintenance.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said earlier on Tuesday the Education Ministry would set up a new service to resolve long-standing, complex property problems at some schools, and another that would take over day-to-day property management from schools that no longer wanted to deal with it themselves.