Key changes: Academies Financial Handbook 2017

The Academies Financial Handbook 2017 (AFH) applies from September 2017. We’ve summarised the key changes below.

  • The ESFA have updated the new handbook to give more guidance on the roles of members and trustees. They have also included stronger emphasis on having significant separation between the roles. Historically a lot of academies had members who were also trustees, but more recently there has been a move to make members a separate group of people, giving more independence. The new handbook makes it very clear that “The Department’s recommendation is for a majority of members to be independent of the board of trustees.”

  • The ESFA’s accounting officer send an annual letter to all accounting officers of academy trusts about the accountability framework. The AFH 2017 states that this letter must be discussed by the board with action taken where appropriate.Your Content Goes Here

  • Increased emphasis on using the competency framework for governance to help identify skills gaps on the board.

  • The ESFA emphasise that the trust’s record of key individuals on Edubase must remain up to date. The DfE must be informed of any changes within 14 days.

  • Clarification that trusts’ delegated authority to make non-statutory/non-contractual staff severance payments under £50,000 is before income tax and other deductions.

  • There is an emphasis that the board of trustees’ decisions about levels of executive pay must follow a robust evidence-based process and are reflective of the individual’s role and responsibilities.

A full version of the Academies Financial Handbook 2017 can be found here.