Thursday, May 6, 1999 Published at 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Council faces education sell-off
Hackney is accused of failing to support its schools
Key education services in the London Borough of Hackney are to be put out to private tender from next week.
It will be the first time a local education authority has lost control of services to the private sector.
BBC News Online has learnt that Hackney's school improvement and language services will be contracted out following an announcement by the Education Secretary, David Blunkett.
The controversial move followed a highly critical report from the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), which accused Hackney of failing in its duty to support schools in the area.
A spokeswoman for the education authority confirmed that an announcement on the contracting out of services was imminent.
"We have been working constructively with the consultants sent in by the government," she said.
"What we want is whatever provides the best service for parents and pupils."
Mr Blunkett's actions were made possible by the School Standards and Framework Act, which passed into law last year.
"Where local education authorities are not adequately providing the support and the service needed for children to have a decent education, then we will take action," he has said.