Beyond looking at income and expenditure flows it is also important to look at exactly where the money is being spent. Will the expenditure regenerate the local economy, or is it flowing out of the local area to national or international businesses. Schools use a variety of materials – for infrastructure, school meals, learning and teaching materials and transport. Building on the social audit process, groups could look at where these materials are sourced from and the impact this has on the local economy. This audit will provide background information on which to base further discussion.
It would be useful to do a Procurement Ranking Matrix to look at the different materials used in the school, where they come from and how this influences the local economy. Each item is scored, for example on a scale: very bad, bad, neutral, good, and excellent.
A key issue is for school meals. Research in Guatemala highlighted how school meals were provided directly from the ministry of education – and that parents were expected to arrange transport to collect the meals from the capital city. Not only was this an additional cost burden to the parents, but the meals themselves were always past their ‘best before’ date; suggesting that the school feeding programme was just a way for the government to dump food. If the school meals could be produced locally, using locally farmed produce, and employing local people to prepare it, this would contribute to the local economy as well as providing school children with a nutritious meal.