The London Leadership Strategy was established in 2011 as a not for profit company run and led by a Board of Headteachers with an independent chair continuing the work of the London Challenge to support all children and young people to achieve their full potential. Since then it has been very successful in delivering a series of contracts with various agencies, running programmes for schools and school leaders in London and other regions, and providing a range of resources and publications.
In March 2017, the then Financial Controller made a number of allegations regarding the Managing Director's conduct of the business. These were investigated through an internal LLS review alongside an externally commissioned financial investigation. Neither review found any evidence of financial impropriety but the independent financial investigation made a number of recommendations where financial management and governance could be improved. The Board accepted these recommendations including the appointment of a Non-Executive Consultant who is currently the Chair of the Finance Sub-Committee. Improved financial policies and controls have been implemented and accounts and forecasts are regularly reviewed by the Finance Sub-Committee at its meetings. The latest draft accounts to 31 August 2017 show a surplus on reserves and the Board is anticipating a positive result for the year to 31 August 2018.
The Financial Controller’s contract ended in April 2017 but a few months later we understand that similar allegations were made to the DfE regarding LLS management of the SEND contract. In response to these allegations the DfE commissioned an Audit with the full co-operation of the LLS. The DfE asked LLS to respond to the points raised in their Audit Report which makes similar comments to the investigation commissioned by LLS and also cleared the LLS of any financial impropriety.
Throughout the period of the DfE SEND contract LLS has delivered the outputs required by it to a high standard and the DfE have made payments accordingly. The two year SEND contract with the DfE has been extensively evaluated and feedback regarding outcomes has been very positive.
Our network of SEND Leaders have delivered SEND Reviewer Training to over 600 practitioners nationwide, and we have released three free Review Guides for schools – co-produced by members of the Whole School SEND Consortium - that have been downloaded more than 8000 times in total, with a further three set for release over the coming months.
Most recently we have launched SEND Advocates, a free personal development programme for practitioners and parents to drive change in SEND provision across the education system, and our MAT SEND Leaders programme, addressing SEND leadership across Multi-Academy Trusts. In total the Whole School SEND Consortium has grown to more than 5000 members across the country, and we are working with all of the Opportunity Areas to ensure we reach those schools and practitioners that can benefit the most. Our mission remains: to share knowledge and work together in order to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND.
The LLS Board continues to deliver the SEND contract to a high standard along with its other highly regarded programmes, resources and publications.