The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has now released the latest edition of the Academies financial handbook, which comes into effect from 1st September 2013.
This handbook describes the financial management, control and reporting requirements for academy trusts. Together with the funding agreement, it documents the financial relationship between academy trusts and the EFA.
As with the 2012 edition, the new handbook focuses on the rules rather than providing guidance. It 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 handbook also 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 General Annual Grant (GAG).
Furthermore, it clarifies the duties of trusts in relation to payments to trustees and sponsors, and gives more information about the financial intervention approach, as well as referring to the annual value for money statement that accounting officers will be required to send to the EFA by 31st December 2013.
The 2012 edition will remain in force until 31st August 2013. In the meantime, academies should read the 2013 edition to familiarise themselves with the changes taking place.
Academies requiring help or advice on any matter arising from the new handbook – or any other financial issues – are welcome to contact the academies team at Nicklin for guidance.