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Academies Financial Handbook 2020 – updates for trustees

New Academies Financial Handbook

The new Academies Financial Handbook was released on 23rd June 2020 for implementation from 1st September 2020.  You can read the full version here.

As in previous versions, there is a helpful summary of changes for members, trustees, local governors and senior leaders to review, as well as an update to the Schedule of requirements or, as they are colloquially known, the “Musts”.  As in previous years, the number of requirements continues to grow!

New Changes

The 2020 version of the Academies Financial Handbook clarifies and adds detail to some of the 2019 changes, and there is a significant increase in the level of internal scrutiny required.

The ESFA clearly see this as an area for improvement within academy trusts and are asking trusts to increase their focus on non-financial areas of risk and control procedures.

Catch-Up Conversations

The audit committee of a trust needs to ensure that they implement a robust risk management programme, which is driven by a comprehensive risk register. Their internal scrutiny programme should then include a focus on their most high-risk areas and a three to a five-year rolling plan of work should be implemented.

The ESFA has provided further guidance documentation of internal scrutiny and risk management which trusts can use to assist them.