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The ESFA publishes a new version of the academies financial handbook

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​The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published a revised version of the Academies Financial Handbook that contains some key changes and clarifications.

In particular, it addresses a number of the issues NAHT has been pressing the government to consider in order to protect the reputation and accountability of our academy sector. It contains tougher guidance on academies engaged in related-party transactions and new advice on how academies should set executive pay and make provision for whistleblowing.

New provisions include:

  • clarifying and strengthening the expectations about the process for setting executive pay, including that it must be transparent, proportionate and justifiable, and based on a robust evidence-based process;
  • further guidance on the requirement to have a whistleblowing strategy, the need to ensure that all staff are aware of the whistleblowing process, and how concerns will be managed;
  • a new requirement to submit an annual report to the ESFA to show how the academies have checked that their internal systems are effective and compliant;
  • emphasising the need for prior ESFA approval for certain financial transactions;
  • providing additional clarification on the reporting and approval of related-party transactions;
  • the role of trustees and emphasises the importance of robust governance;
  • a requirement for trusts under a financial notice to improve to publish it on their website;
  • more about how the secretary of state may intervene over concerns about an individual managing an academy trust.
Last updated 01 July 2019