The latest version of the Academies Financial Handbook, continues the theme of increased scrutiny towards governance, that has been ongoing for the past few years. This follows on from changes made by Ofsted to place a greater emphasis on governance during inspections.

The key changes

  • Clarification that a financial notice to improve can not only be issued for financial concerns, but also for poor governance. The handbook gives examples, including: weak oversight, control or direction by trustees, poor internal scrutiny and challenge, and breaches of the duties, principles and requirements governing connected party relationships.
  • A new section on Transparency has been included, which details the information that each Academy Trust must place on its website. This information includes:

    – the structure and remit of the members, board of trustees, its committees and local governing bodies

    – The full names, relevant business and pecuniary interests of any members, Trustees, or local governors who have served in the last 12 months

    – for each trustee their attendance records at board and committee meetings over the last academic year – for each local governor their attendance records

  • Clarification that an academy trust’s register of interests must also identify close family relationships between members or trustees, and between members or trustees and the trust’s employees.
  • Confirmation that the requirement for a separate value for money will be removed and instead included in governance statements, as indicated in the Accounts direction.
  • Only Academy Trusts with a turnover in excess of £50m now need to have a dedicated Audit Committee.

If you would like any further information regarding the changes in the Academies Financial Handbook, or have any other queries please get in touch. The full Academies Financial Handbook 2015 can be found here.