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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-update-6-march-2019/esfa-update-academies-6-march-2019
1. Reminder: fraud risk management in academy trusts
Please familiarise yourself with our published academies guide to reducing any risk of financial irregularities and take any necessary action to improve your counter fraud arrangements.
Fraud, theft and irregularity are a constant risk to public funds. The government estimates that fraud costs the public sector between £31bn and £49bn per year.
We are aware of a significant increase in incidents of cybercrime against academy trusts in the past year and that some of you have already experienced incidents of fraud. You should therefore have addressed potential internal control and procedural weaknesses to reduce further risks arising.
ESFA takes all reports of fraud and financial irregularity seriously and monitors trusts to ensure appropriate action has been taken. Where ESFA identifies that incidents are not satisfactorily resolved or additional issues arise we may take further action in accordance with the Academies Financial Handbook.
2. Information: academy trust financial management good practice guides
We have published 6 guides recommending good practice in academy trusts financial management and assurance. These are:
- operating an academy trust as a going concern
- choosing an external auditor for an academy trust
- academy trust deficit recovery
- academy trust risk management
- leasing guidance for academy trusts
- academy trust management accounting
The guides aim to support trustees, accounting officers, principals/executive leaders and chief financial officers (CFOs) to develop good practice their trust.
3. Information: ‘Understanding your data’ feedback survey
In June 2018, we published ‘Understanding your data; a guide for school governors and academy trustees’, to help you collect the right data for your school or academy trust and analyse, and make use of this data to improve the performance of your school or academy trust.
We want to improve this resource to ensure it continues to meet your needs, and we would value your feedback, through completion of our survey.
The survey is confidential and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The survey closes on Tuesday 19 March 2019.
4. Information: themes arising from ESFA’s assurance work
We have published themes arising from ESFA’s assurance work outlining the outcomes of the programme of our assurance work relating to the financial oversight and management of the academies sector in 2017 to 2018.
Highlighting common themes in our work aims to enable the sector to improve the quality of its financial governance. The briefing is for academy trust accounting officers, finance staff and trustees. Auditors of academy trust accounts may also find it helpful.
5. Information: consultation on allocations methodology for the 16 to 19 discretionary bursary fund
On 28 February 2019, the Department for Education launched a consultation outlining proposals to revise the allocations methodology for the 16 to 19 discretionary bursary fund.
This consultation will be of interest to any provider with a 16 to 19 discretionary bursary allocation.
You can submit your views on GOV.UK. The consultation closes on Thursday 23 May 2019.
If you have a query about the consultation, please email 1619DiscretionaryBursary.CONSULTATION@education.gov.uk.