The Education Skills & Funding Agency (ESFA) has provided financial management guidance for Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs). On 27 October 2020, the ESFA published new guidance for Audit Committees of MATs. This expands on the requirements set out in the Academies Financial Handbook 2020 (AFH), which contains the main financial management and control requirements for MATs.
The new guidance includes three helpful annexes which offer example Audit and Risk Committee Terms of Reference, suggested areas of coverage for its annual report, and a suggested format for the report.
In particular, the new guidance suggests that MATs should place the following requirements on the composition of the Audit Committee:
- The membership of the Audit Committee should comprise a minimum of three trustees;
- The chair of Trustees for the MAT should not be chair of the Audit Committee; and
- At least one member of the Audit Committee should have recent or relevant accountancy, or audit assurance, experience.
Whilst the guidance is non-statutory and so is not compulsory, it does contain suggestions for good practice which will be taken as evidence of sound financial management and so MATs would be well-advised to implement its recommendations.
For further guidance, ESFA good practice guides for the financial management of academy trusts can be found here.
How can Blake Morgan help?
If you would like any support or assistance with the financial management of your academy trust, please let us know. Blake Morgan has a dedicated Academies Team that can offer advice on a wide range of issues for academies, including commercial and charity advice, assistance with regulatory and real estate issues, and practical HR, employment and pensions advice.
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