The 2019 Handbook was published last week and takes effect from 1st September 2019. The foreword by Lord Agnew gives an interesting insight into the ESFA’s current focus and some context around the changes this year.
The headline is that strong financial management systems are vital. Increased scrutiny of internal controls, combined with effective audit committees and the support of internal auditors, are the best ways in which to establish and maintain good financial management systems.
Governors are reminded of their duties in relation to overseeing and appraising the financial and educational performance of Trusts and Lord Agnew is keen to emphasise the importance of the Board receiving accurate and timely budgetary information.
Whilst broadly similar to recent editions, this edition of the Handbook does have some important changes. The key points to note are:
- It is now a mandatory requirement to have a risk register
- The content of mandatory monthly management accounts is prescribed and must include an income and expenditure account, variation to budget report, cash flows and balance sheet.
- There is a new requirement for a summary annual internal scrutiny report to be sent to the ESFA with the audited accounts by 31 December each year. There is also additional guidance on internal scrutiny in general and the role of the audit committee.
- Trusts must provide a direct email address for all members and governors using the governance section of Get Information About Schools (GIAS). The new data fields providing member and governor email addresses will be available on GIAS from 8 July 2019.
Please make sure that anyone involved in governing or managing your Trust has read the new Handbook including members, all governors, accounting officers, chief financial officers and clerks.
If you would like to talk to either myself or another of our academy sector specialists about the new Handbook or our internal audit service, please get in touch below.