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This page gives some highlights of our recent activity, and provides links to some of our recent reports where these have been published or otherwise placed in the public domain.

If you would like more details on any of these projects, please do not hesitate to contact us.

BRDO logo

Better Regulation Delivery Office

We have recently carried out four projects for the Better Regulation Delivery Office, looking at ways in which the Primary Authority programme supports businesses that have activities in more than one local authority area. The aim of the programme (in very broad outline) is to provide businesses with an effective means of resolving any conflicts they may experience in advice given to them by different local authorities' Trading Standards teams, Environmental Health teams, etc.

Our projects covered:

  • an interim review of the Primary Authority programme
  • a more comprehensive review of the first five years to assess the overall progress of the programme
  • an evaluation of two pilots designed to test the extension of Primary Authority to fire and rescue services (this extension subsequently took place)
  • an assessment of the benefit:cost ratio of participating in Primary Authority from the point of view of participant businesses.

To see the report of our interim review of BRDO click here; for our fire and rescue services report click here.

DfE logo
Department for Education

We carried out the most recent review of Programme Weights for the Department for Education and the Education Funding Agency. Programme Weights are the mechanism used to reflect the differential costs of providing programmes in different programme areas.

Our report can be seen on the DfE website by clicking here.

More recently, we have investigated local authorities' spending on school support functions - as captured on authorities' "Section 251" Returns - through a combination of case study visits and statistical modelling of the Returns themselves. Our report on this project is in press at the time of writing.

Derbyshire County Council

We recently reviewed the provision of SEND support to schools in Derbyshire, on behalf the Council, and made a number of recommendations concerning the configuration and management of these services. We make particular recommendations concerning increasing the ownership of services and service provision by the mainstream schools whose pupils received SEND support from peripatetic teams.

Natspec: The Association of National Specialist Colleges

We have recently provided advice to Natspec on the costing and pricing of programmes of 16-19 and 19-25 education in the light of the reforms to the funding of high needs students. In addition to providing this advice, we have been working with a number of individual independent specialist colleges to check that their approach to pricing student programmes is robust and able to cover their direct and indirect costs.

More recently, we have been commissioned by Natspec to advise it and its members on how to respond to current approaches to procurement and commissioning. A number of local authorities and local authority consortia are adopting highly structure commissioning/procurement procedures and our project will provide guidance to independent specialist colleges on how to participate in these.

Any college that is concerned about its approach to high needs student funding is very welcome to contact us.



acl Consulting, Lodge Farm, Hognaston, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1PW. Telephone 01335 372158. eMail davidl@aclconsulting.co.uk