What is the deadline?
The deadline for submitting the checklist for the 2023-24 year is 15 March 2024.
How do you complete and submit the checklist?
You use an online form provided by the ESFA. You will need to use your Department for Education (DfE) login to access the form which went live in January and can be accessed here: School Resource Management Self-Assessment - DFE Online Forms
What is the purpose of the checklist?
The checklist is designed to help trusts identify any areas for potential improvements in their resource management. It also helps the ESFA gain assurance that trusts have the right processes, systems and structures in place to help them to achieve a good level of financial health and resource management.
The checklist was previously part of the school resource management self-assessment tool (SRMSAT).
The checklist also helps trustees and the trust’s accounting officer to:
- check they have appropriate financial management and governance arrangements in place;
- check they are meeting the right standards to achieve a good level of financial health and resource management; and
- identify areas for change to make sure resources are used to support high-quality teaching and the best education outcomes for pupils.
What has changed in the 2023-24 version of the checklist?
A number of changes have been made this year due to changes in the Academy Trust Handbook for 2023-24 and due to an overall review of the checklist approach by the ESFA. The ESFA considered how to help trusts further identify areas for change to make sure resources are used to support high-quality teaching and the best education outcomes for pupils.
What areas does the checklist cover?
The checklist questions cover 6 main areas:
- Trust strategy
- Setting the annual budget
- Value for money
- Protecting the public purse
ESFA supporting notes
The ESFA has published useful checklist supporting notes which sets out and discusses each of the questions covered by the checklist, provides links to where certain requirements can be found and provides discussion points on each question to help you think about how best to answer the questions and what you may already have in place to support your answers.
The notes also provides links to a large number of ‘further information’ and supporting resources and documents that may be useful for trusts, their finance teams and trustees.
The supporting notes can be accessed here: School resource management self-assessment checklist - support notes for 2023 to 2024
The ESFA has also provided a dashboard which helps to provide school business professionals with assurance that they are meeting the basic standards necessary to achieve a good level of financial health and resource management.
The dashboard tool can be used to identify possible areas for investigation and improvement to ensure that resources are being used to support high-quality teaching and the best education outcomes for pupils.
The dashboard shows how a school’s data compares to thresholds on a range of statistics that have been identified by the Department for Education as indicators for good resource management and outcomes.
The dashboard provides Red, Amber or Green (RAG) ratings against a school’s data that indicates how its spend and characteristics compare with similar schools or nationally recognised bandings and recommendations.
The dashboard can be accessed here: Schools Financial Benchmarking - GOV.UK