The Education and Skills funding agency, released updated guidelines on 23 June, regarding the financial requirements for Single and Multi-Academy Trusts – with regulations coming in to effect on 1 September 2020.
The full details of the changes can be found in the Academies Financial Handbook – 2020 edition, or on the gov.co.uk website.
The changes outlined are compulsory as of 1 September 2020, with the Education and Skills Funding agency outlining:
“Academy trusts must comply with this handbook as a condition of their funding agreement. It provides an overarching framework for implementation of effective financial management and control.”
The changes for September 2020 include:
General Controls and Transparency
View the Academies Financial Handbook
A summary of the additional information that you must publish on your website are as follows:
BENEFITS (Section 2.32)
The trust must publish on its website, in a separate readily accessible form the exact number of employees whose benefits exceed £100k, in £10k bandings, as an extract from the disclosure in its financial statements for the previous year ended 31 August
GENDER PAY GAP (Section 2.33)
The trust is reminded of requirements under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 for organisations with 250 or more employees to publish information on their website and on the government’s reporting website about the gender pay gap in their organisation.
WHISTLEBLOWING PROCEDURE (Section 2.44)
The academy trust must have procedures for whistleblowing, to protect staff who report individuals they believe are doing something wrong or illegal. The trustees must agree the whistleblowing procedure and publish it on the trust’s website.
TRANSPARENT GOVERNANCE (Section 2.50)
The trust must provide details of its governance arrangements in the governance statement published with its annual accounts, including what the board has delegated to committees and, in trusts with multiple academies, to local governing bodies. The trust must also publish on its website up-to-date details of its governance arrangements in a readily accessible format, including:
- The structure and remit of the trust’s members, board of trustees, committees and local governing bodies (the trust’s scheme of delegation for governance functions), and the full names of the chair of each.
- For each of the trust’s members serving at any point over the past 12 months, their full names, date of appointment, date they stepped down (where applicable), and relevant business and pecuniary interests including governance roles in other educational institutions.
-For each trustee and local governor serving at any point over the past 12 months, their full names, date of appointment, term of office, date they stepped down (where applicable), who appointed them, and relevant business and pecuniary interests including governance roles in other educational institutions. If the accounting officer is not a trustee their business and pecuniary interests must still be published.
- For each trustee, their attendance records at board and committee meetings over the last academic year.
- For each local governor, their attendance records at local governing body meetings over the last academic year.
AUDITED REPORTS AND ACCOUNTS (Section 4.4)
Audited reports and accounts must be published on the trust’s website by 31 January.
REGISTER OF INTEREST (Section 5.47)
Trusts must publish on their websites relevant business and pecuniary interests of members, trustees, local governors and accounting officers.
FINANCIAL NOTICE TO IMPROVE (Section 6.16)
Where a trust is subject to an FNtI, it must publish the FNtI on its website within 14 days of it being issued, and retain it on the website until the FNtI is lifted by ESFA.