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Questions over academy’s financial management

Date: Tuesday 14th February 2017

A SCHOOL academy has been given a financial notice to improve by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

The Building Futures Enterprise Academy Trust, which has run Yanwath and Tebay primary schools since January, 2015, must now seek EFA approval for all transactions until it can be satisfied that the trust can “demonstrate appropriate levels of financial management and governance”. If the trust fails to do so, it could have its funding agreement terminated.

In a letter to trust chairman Martyn Worrall, the EFA raised concerns about its failure to discharge and manage its governance composition in a way that commands broad public support.

There were also concerns over its failure to demonstrate adequate financial control and appropriate oversight of financial transactions; failure to have a system in place to demonstrate effective budget setting and monitoring of timely monthly management accounts; failure to demonstrate appropriate financial management and governance oversight and control; and an inability to provide assurance on its current and future financial position.

In order to get its delegated powers back, the trust must demonstrate that the accounting officer, chairman of governors and chief finance officer have the qualifications, skills and abilities to carry out their roles effectively and complete a financial management and governance action plan so that it is operating within the scope of the academies financial handbook.

It must also reconstitute the trust board such that it is fully compliant with, and operates within the parameters of, the handbook; ensure that it is compliant with all requirements to submit financial returns to the EFA; submit monthly management accounts that accurately show the current and forecast financial position; submit minutes of each meeting and each of its subcommittees until notified otherwise by the EFA; and submit a detailed plan about the exact future of the trust.

Mr. Worrall and the trust’s chief executive, June Venus, issued a joint statement in response to the financial notice to improve. It stated: “The financial notice has enabled us to effectively target areas for financial improvement. The majority of issues outlined have already been addressed.

“This is not an Ofsted. The quality of education is not being questioned, scrutinised or judged. This is about the company, not the schools, which remain unaffected by this financial notice.”

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