Annal Nayyar – New Academies Handbook- September 2013

Annal Nayyar – New Academies Handbook- September 2013

The Academies Financial Handbook 2013 describes the financial management and control requirements for academy trusts arising from their funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education.

The handbook, together with the funding agreement, documents the financial relationship between academy trusts and the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

The handbook applies to all types of academy trust, including free schools, and is for use by anyone with a financial role within an academy trust including trustees, accounting officers (principals and chief executives), principal finance officers (finance directors and business managers) and auditors.

The EFA  have developed the 2013 edition following extensive consultation across the sector through the Academies Finance and Assurance Steering Group. It maintains the shorter format introduced in 2012, with a focus on the rules rather than detailed guidance. It also emphasises the accounting officer’s personal responsibility to secure regularity, propriety and value for money in the conduct of the academy trust’s financial management.

The main changes to the previous edition are highlighted at the beginning of the handbook, as well as in the ‘at a glance’ overview document. It introduces additional flexibilities for academy trusts, including increased autonomy to deal with asset disposals and leases, and the freedom for a multi-academy trust to pool its GAG. It also clarifies the duties of trusts in relation to payments to trustees and sponsors, and gives more information about the financial intervention approach for academies.

The handbook also refers to the annual value for money statement, announced in the 2012 edition of the handbook, that accounting officers will be required to send to the EFA by 31 December 2013.

The 2013 handbook is effective from 1 September 2013 and from this date it replaces the 2012 edition.

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