FMSIS is one of those initiatives set up by the last Government which was welcome in theory but has been a bureaucratic nonsense in practice, with anything up to 30 documents being required in a comprehensive folder to regulate the financial management of schools. In my view this could be reduced to the acceptance of some clear financial regulations written by Local Authorities, a local agreement for the delegation of spending decisions to the Headteacher and Finance Committee, and one annual statement signed by the Chair of Governors to say that the school has abided by the Council's regulations and that procurement decisions have followed Best Value principles.
A bonfire of bureaucracy is what is needed and I trust our friends in Coalition Government starts doing what it promises on this sort of thing.
On Tuesday I attended the Lithos Partnership meeting in my ward where there is further progress being made to set up meaningful engagement with the local residents, and where the police and the Housing Associations that share the management of the estate are prepared to work together to tackle the small number of ASB issues.
On Tuesday evening I attended the first Pensions Sub-Committee since the election and was glad to see Peter Brayshaw has lost none of his chairing skills with a four year break. He was fulsome in his praise for the work carried out by the committee in restructuring the Pension Fund under my leadership as Chair, which shows what a decent man he is. Now I am in opposition on the committee I put a cat among the pigeons to suggest that the 5% of the Fund we had provisionally set aside for "Alternative Investments" could possibly be allocated to "Ethical Funds".
As I explained on Tuesday I first proposed this when I was a member of Humberside County Council's equivalent "Investment Committee" 25 years ago. Then I was cautioned that there was insufficient knowledge on how such funds would perform to invest in them. We had to be confident that we would get a reasonable return for the taxpayer.
Well 25 years later it is clear that, as with all types of investments, there are good and bad funds in terms of their returns and the science of selection would be the key. Our officers came out with the same cautionary tale as those in Humberside 25 years ago. We await a further report on this issue but whether the committee will have the stomach for anything nominally called ethical will no doubt be the topic of a future blog.
On Wednesday I attended my second Governing Body meeting of the week - this time at Kensal Rise Primary School. Here the initiative to get fathers included in the school life of their children goes from strength to strength with another packed Fathers Week of special events about to start, including a day trip to Littlehampton sponsored by the Variety Club.
On Thursday I started a new role as the Liberal Democrat Group's representative on the Governors Liaison Group, which is used to thrash out a way of appointing Local Authority Governors to schools in Camden. After a lot of hard bargaining we only have one disputed school to try to resolve.
Friday was the annual "Works Outing" for primary school headteachers in Brent. This year we had a day trip to Whitstable with yours truly in charge of the travel arrangements and the lunch booking. Thankfully everything went well. I can certainly recommend the Duke of Cumberland in the High Street for food well above the average for a "gastro-pub".
It was on the way back to Kilburn that I had a phone call from my colleague Nancy Jirira which left me truly stunned. Martin Davies had died. I could not believe it. As I got out at Kilburn High Road station I came across Mukul Hira and he was as shocked as I was. More of this in my next blog.
I started these reflections by saying that this week was like being back to normal. Well as normal as my life ever gets I suppose, with highs, lows, and mind-numbing moments in equal measure.