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Academy Trust Handbook 2022 update (“Sorry”)

  • 30th August 2022

The Academy Trust Handbook has been released and is effective from 1st September 2022.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have published the Academy Trust Handbook 2022 and have apologised on Twitter for giving trusts less than six working days to review the document before it comes into effect on 1st September 2022. The ESFA tweeted “We are sorry that publication of the Academy Trust Handbook 2022 is later than in previous years”.

The good news is that there are not many changes to the 2022 handbook and this year’s edition places no new requirements on academy trusts.

So, what are the changes this year?

The changes are set out on page 8 of the document, which can be found here, and we have summarised the points below:

  • Trusts no longer have to submit a Budget Forecast Return Outturn (BFRO), instead, they are only required to submit the annual Budget Forecast Return (BFR).
  • Trusts no longer need to obtain prior approval from the ESFA to enter into indemnities as long as they are for “normal cause of business”.
  • Trusts now only need to obtain prior approval from the ESFA before they issue any special (non-contractual, statutory or other right) severance payments.
  • The ESFA have extended the scope of paragraph 5.57 from ‘dioceses’ to all ‘religious authorities’, confirming when the ‘at cost’ requirement is met.

The Minister for School System, Baroness Barran, addressed that the past two years have been the most challenging that anyone working in education can remember, and whilst the priority has been rightly on the provision of education, the importance of strong financial management and governance for trusts has also been of critical importance.

In the foreword, Baroness Barran reiterated the importance of continually reviewing the financial and governance framework to ensure it remains both effective and proportionate. Changes have been made to the Academy Trust Handbook to ensure trusts continue to enjoy the right level of day-to-day autonomy.

As a firm we would like to remind academy trusts that failing to comply with the Academy Trust Handbook 2022 risks a breach to their funding agreement with the UK government.

If you have any queries on any of the changes or if we can help with your internal or external audit process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Read more on: Academies

Any news or resources within this section should not be relied upon with regards to figures or data referred to as legislative and policy changes may have occurred.