On the 23rd June 2020, the Education and Skills Funding Agency released updated guidance relating to the financial requirements for Single- and Multi-Academy Trusts.
The full list of changes can be found on the government website or in the 2020 edition of the Academies Financial Handbook and we strongly recommend that all academy members, trustees, local governors, accounting officers, chief financial officers, auditors and clerks read the document prior to the regulations coming into effect on the 1st September 2020.
Academy Trusts must comply with the Academies Financial Handbook as a condition of their funding agreement. It provides an overarching framework for implementation of effective financial management and control.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency
Changes to Financial Guidance for 2020
All the changes made to the 2020 edition of the Academies Financial Handbook can be found here on the government website and we strongly recommend reading this and the handbook in order to ensure you are meeting all guidelines.
The main changes made this year relate to:
- Executive Team
- General Controls and Transparency
- Internal Scrutiny
- Annual Accounts
Financial information required on your trust website
Alongside the DfE Requirements for Academies, Free Schools and Colleges, you will also need to feature the following financial information on your website from the 1st September 2020:
- The number of employees whose benefits exceeded £100k
These should be published in a separate readily accessible form, in £10k bandings, as an extract from the disclosure in your financial statements from the previous year ended 31st August. (Section 2.32)
- Gender Pay Gap
Under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulation 2017, organisations with 250+ employees have to publish information on their website and the government reporting website about the gender pay gap within their organisation. (Section 2.33)
- Whistleblowing Procedure
This must be agreed by the trustees and published on the Trust website. (Section 2.44)
- Transparent Governance Arrangements* -These have to be up-to-date and should be published in a readily-accessible format within your website (Section 2.50)
- Audited Report and Accounts - Trusts must have their audited report and accounts online by the 31st January.
- Register of Interests - Trusts must publish the relevant business and pecuniary interests of members, trustees, local governors and accounting officers on the website. (Section 5.47)
- Financial Notice to Improve - When a Trusts is subject to a Financial Notice to Improve (FNtI) they publish it on their website within 14 days of being issued with the notice and it must remain on the website until it has been lifted by the ESFA. (Section 6.16)
*Additional information on Transparent Governance Arrangements
These have to be up-to-date and should be published in a readily-accessible format within your website (Section 2.50)
This should include:
- The structure and remit of the members, board of trustees, committees and local governing bodies, including the full name of the chair of each.
- The full names, dates of appointment, term of office, date they stepped down and appointee details for each member, trustee and local governor who has served over the last 12 months. You must also include their relevant business and pecuniary interests including governance roles in other educational institutions. If the accounting officer is not a trustee then their business and pecuniary interests must still be published
- The attendance record at each local governing body meeting over the last academic year for each local governor.
- The attendance record for board and committee meetings over the last academic year for each trustee.
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