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New government handbook tightens grip on governance

Ten things you need to know about the new Academies Financial Handbook

Posted by Stephanie Broad | July 29, 2016 | Law, finance, HR

The Academies Financial Handbook 2016 is effective from 1 September, outlining requirements for academy members, trustees, auditors and finance professionals. Since the last edition of this document several updates have been made. 

1.  All trusts must have a senior executive leader who is also appointed as accounting officer, and these roles must not rotate.

2.  Trusts must use Edubase to report appointment and vacation of the roles of member, trustee, local governor, chair of trustees, chairs of governing bodies, accounting officers and chief financial officer.

3.  Exposure to ‘investment products’ must be tightly controlled so that ‘security of funds’ takes precedence over revenue generation.

4.  Any variances between budget and actual income and expenditure must be understood and addressed

5.  A trust may be required to report information about its cash position to the EFA if there are concerns about financial management

6.  It will be a requirement, rather than a recommendation, for trusts to have a whistleblowing procedure

7.  Trusts must implement reasonable risk management audit recommendations from risk auditors

8.  Trusts should opt-in to the risk protection arrangement (RPA) unless commercial insurance providers offer a better deal

9.  Trusts must adhere to handbook conditions and obtain required approval before confirming any severance payments for staff

10.  Boards of trustees should identify skills needed in the workforce and address any gaps through training and/or recruitment

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