Managing Risk and School Audits for Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust

Enhancing risk management and operational efficiency

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Risk management, health and safety and compliance for schools and MATs. Everything from GDPR, school trips to financial and legal compliance.

Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust

The challenge to manage risks effectively 

Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust is a MAT with twelve member schools in Essex.  

Dave Richardson, Trust Project Manager at Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust, took on the task of managing risks across different school areas. The Trust needed to identify, mitigate, and strengthen operational structures. As their internal audit contract neared its end, they actively sought alternative providers.  

Here, Dave provides insights into their situation and the crucial need for a comprehensive risk management solution. 

“Osborne was coming to the end of a 3-year plan for our internal audits and scrutiny. We wanted to see what other companies had to offer to give us a wider range and breadth of topics that would support and develop the growth of our Trust. Juniper offered a wide range of services that the previous company couldn’t provide and were also very open to discuss other areas where we wanted feedback and scrutiny.”   

Juniper provided a comprehensive solution to our needs; we continue to use Juniper year after year.
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Dave Richardson Trust Project Manager, Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust

A reliable solution for the Trust 

Juniper Education devised a comprehensive strategy to support the Trust with finance audits, site security, internal scrutiny and risk, payroll, and merger effectiveness. Juniper’s dedicated consultants worked closely with Dave to fortify their risk management protocols, enhance segregation within payroll systems, and strengthen site security controls. The team suggested policy, process, and site amendments, tailoring solutions to suit their specific needs.  

Dave highlights Juniper's ongoing positive impact on Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust. 

“Juniper provided a comprehensive solution to our needs; our experience has been so positive that we have simply continued to use Juniper year after year. One key strength has been the team's knowledge, enabling us to complete standard and bespoke scrutiny audits. Our consultant attends meetings with our Trustees to plan the audits as well as to give assurance and feedback at the end of the process. Everything has been great!”  

Risk rewarded: A remarkable outcome

The collaboration with the Trust helped significantly improve their risk management practices, ensuring a proactive stance towards mitigating potential issues.  

Juniper played a pivotal role in establishing strong frameworks to detect, handle, and reduce risks in line with the board's goals. This involved enhancing the segregation within payroll systems to heighten accuracy and security in financial operations. Additionally, the team guided policy and procedural adjustments, significantly enhancing site security controls and supporting safety measures across the Trust. 

Dave champions Juniper for delivering a comprehensive solution that has consistently met the Trust's needs. 

“Juniper has the breadth of expertise that we can call upon when we need it. Not only has Juniper been able to fully meet all our requests regarding audits related to financial processes, but also other areas where we wanted feedback. We are currently going through a cycle where all of our Trust schools will have had a site security review. These reviews have proven excellent in proactively managing the risks as well as giving a good level of assurance of the safeguards that are in place.” 

Future engagement with Juniper 

The Trust has consistently purchased audit days throughout the duration of the three-year relationship, indicating their satisfaction with Juniper’s services. Moreover, the Trust recently extended its partnership by signing up for another three-year deal, emphasising the value of the ongoing support and expertise received from Juniper Education.  

Dave commends the ongoing partnership with Juniper, praising the team's dedicated efforts in delivering a solution that effectively supports Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust. 

“Every scrutiny audit throughout our partnership has been completed in a professional and timely manner. The various teams involved have been extremely knowledgeable in their areas and very detailed feedback has been given both through meetings as well as final written reports. The overall Trustee summary report that pulls everything together gives an excellent summary of the scrutiny completed each year and gives the assurances needed regarding the controls in place. The report gives recommendations to the Trustee's for consideration, but it also gives assurance over the suitability of, and compliance with, the systems and operational controls in place.  

Juniper, and particularly our dedicated consultant, have always delivered and fully met our needs. The internal scrutiny has always been completed in a collaborative way, supporting the Trust to seek further improvement.”