Academies Financial Handbook 2016

11 October 2016

The EFA have published the 2016 edition of the Academies Financial Handbook, which applies to the accounting period beginning on 1 September 2016.

The main changes are as follows:


  • Boards of trustees should identify the skills they need and address any gaps through recruitment or training
  • To align with the terminology used in the Governance Handbook, the EFA refer to the trust’s publication of its governance structure and remit as its ‘scheme of delegation for governance functions’
  • All trusts must have a senior executive leader who should also be appointed as accounting officer, and that these roles must not rotate
  • Trusts must publish the relevant business and pecuniary interests of their accounting officer regardless of whether they are a trustee. They confirm that local governors are included when identifying relevant interests from close family relationships
  • Trusts must use Edubase to notify the Department for Education (DfE) of the appointment and vacating of the positions of member, trustee, local governor in a multi-academy trust, chair of trustees, chairs of local governing bodies, accounting officer and chief financial officer.

Financial control

  • Variances between budget and actual income and expenditure must be understood and addressed
  • Exposure to investment products must be tightly controlled so that security of funds takes precedence over revenue maximisation
  • Where there are concerns about financial management in a trust, the trust may be required to report information about its cash position to the EFA
  • A whistleblowing procedure is now a requirement, rather than a recommendation
  • Trusts should consider opting into the risk protection arrangement (RPA) unless commercial insurance provides better value for money
  • Trusts must implement reasonable risk management audit recommendations that are made to them by risk auditors
  • The audit committee’s oversight must extend to the controls and risks at its constituent academies, where the trust has them.
  • Oversight must also ensure that information submitted to the DfE and EFA that affects funding is accurate and compliant.
  • When considering a staff severance payment, trusts must satisfy the conditions in the handbook and obtain the required approval before making a binding commitment to staff.

If you have any questions, specialist Partners at MHA MacIntyre Hudson can advise and support you.

For further information, or an informal discussion, please contact us.

Get in touch with our expertsEnquire now