Academies Financial Handbook 2018 Update

The Academies Financial Handbook is updated annually by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The latest version of the handbook was issued on 13 June 2018 for all academies for the accounting year commencing 1 September 2018, and can be found here.

To download our summary of the changes to the Academies Financial Handbook, effective from 1 September 2018, please click here

The Academies Financial Handbook is the main reference tool used by academies to help apply sound financial management and to follow financial and governance requirements. This year, the key changes to the Handbook compared to the previous year are:

  • Highlighting directions the Secretary of State may make in relation to members, trustees and other individuals.
  • Referring to the Charity Commission’s role in addressing non-compliance.
  • Greater emphasis on trustees applying high standards of governance, the role of the chair, working with ESFA, and updated references to church academies.
  • Updating the description of the role of members to align with the Governance Handbook.
  • Removing the term ‘ex-officio’ to avoid suggesting an academy trust’s senior executive leader would automatically act as a trustee.
  • Explaining reporting requirements if the board of a larger trust meets less than six times a year.
  • Confirming that trusts must apply robust cash management.
  • Setting clearer requirements for budgeting.
  • Recommending the national deals for schools.
  • Strengthening expectations about the process for setting executive pay and highlighting gender pay gap reporting.
  • Clarifying the section on the risk protection arrangement.
  • Emphasising the proper handling of whistle-blowers.
  • Confirming reporting requirements in relation to internal scrutiny.
  • Explaining new requirements for related party transactions and arrangements with dioceses.
  • Focussing on the importance of acting on audit advice.
  • Highlighting how ESFA may take action where trusts do not comply with requirements for submitting financial information.
  • Annex C now identifies some ‘musts’ that are particularly relevant to boards.

If you would like any help or advice with implementing the latest changes to the Academies Financial Handbook 2018, please contact your usual UHY Adviser or UHY Academy School Specialist.  You may also find our summary of the Academies Accounts Direction 2017 to 2018 useful – this can be downloaded from our website here.