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Buzzacott and Stone King: Annual Academies Update 2020

To support the sector, throughout May, June and July we hosted a three-part webinar series to help academy trusts manage the impact of COVID-19

Posted by Joe Lawson-West | August 20, 2020 | Law, finance, HR

Effective governance is a challenge at the best of times, but making decisions and implementing changes through a period of rapid transformation is particularly difficult.

To support the sector, throughout May, June and July we hosted a three-part webinar series to help academy trusts manage the impact of COVID-19. We did so by looking at ways you have responded to the crisis and adapted your governance in these challenging times, as well as providing you with essential accounting, legal and employment law updates.

All three webinars are now available to view on the Buzzacott YouTube channel. The videos give access to the content presentation and also address popular questions from audience members at the end.

Part one - Regulatory, governance and employment law update, Wednesday 6 May 2020

Part one of the series focused on assisting academies in managing and maintaining their regulatory compliance and governance procedures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We shared how academy trusts have responded to the crisis and adapted their governance.

In this webinar we addressed concerns surrounding employment law and furlough, passing resolutions and holding committee meetings as well as the effect COVID-19 will have on the going concern statement and overall accounts preparation. You can watch part one now.

Part two - Governance update from the sector, Wednesday 17 June 2020

In part two, we provided a governance update from the sector, with special guest Liz Dawson of Ark, who shared her expert insights into the impact and challenges COVID-19 presented to their governance. Additionally, we discussed the reopening of schools as well as a new bill that was put to parliament, which called for temporary easing and new flexibility to be taken regarding matters such as annual general meetings and filing requirements.

As well as speaking about the ‘new normal’ and what that means for academy trusts, Liz provided an invaluable perspective by sharing first hand advice on all manner of topics including the importance of maintaining your risk registers, clear communication and what the re-opening of schools may look like. Watch part two now.

Part three - ESFA Financial Handbook and Accounts Direction, Tuesday 21 July 2020

Bringing the series to a close, in our final update we provided you with information on the latest version of the ESFA Academies Financial Handbook and Accounts Direction. The event began with a legal overview of the updates released in the 2020 Academies Financial Handbook before discussing the regulatory and audit implications. The second half of the webinar looked at the reporting and accounting changes introduced by the 2019/20 Accounts Direction.

This session provided an excellent opportunity for key finance personnel to ask their questions about the essential updates issued within the ESFA’s documentation. This included changes to the fixed asset register requirements, pupil premium projections and the implications that the Accounting Officer and Chief Financial Officer roles must now be filled by employees, except in exceptional circumstances with ESFA approval. You can watch part three now.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of the topics discussed in this webinar series, please contact Buzzacott’s Academy team today. We are experts at advising SATs and MATs on their governance and audit requirements and our friendly team will be more than happy to assist you. Please email enquiries@buzzacott.co.uk or call +44 (0)20 7556 1200 today.

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