Academies’ trustees and accounting officers have a duty to “prepare financial plans so as to secure … short-term and long-term financial health” as defined in section 2 of the Academies Financial Handbook 2013. These plans might require revision in the light of two developments:
- Academy schools face a 33% rise in employer’s National Insurance contribution from 2015 onwards, which is likely to cost each academy the equivalent of two or three teaching staff.
- Academies’ Educational Services Grant will be cut by approximately 20% per pupil in 2015.
Put simply – academy schools will need to make economies, and be seen to do so. In 2013, for the first time academy schools were required to submit “Value For Money Statements” to “demonstrate to parents and the public that the academy trust’s use of public assets and funds has provided good value for money during the year and to identify opportunities for potential improvement.” The statement must be published on the school’s website within one month of being filed. The VFMS guide includes the following parameters to demonstrate that the trust has tried to get more for its money:
Fitness for purpose
Have services and contracts been appraised or renegotiated to get the best mix of quality and effectiveness for the least cost?
Has the trust benchmarked its costs against similar organisations to identify areas for making savings?
Have different options been considered before making purchases, including an assessment of the costs and benefits of the alternatives over the longer term? Has tendering been used appropriately and effectively to get the best deal?
Auditel’s tried and tested methodology provides documentary evidence that all the above requirements have been met, whilst working quietly in the background to ensure best value for the school. We already work with many schools and colleges across the UK and Ireland. To discover how we can help your school, please contact us.