New Academies Financial Handbook Published

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The DfE has published the new Academies Financial Handbook 2014, which will come into effect on 1 September 2014. It applies to all academy trusts and free schools, which are required to comply with it under the terms of their funding agreements.

The focus of the new handbook is on openness and transparency and the need to avoid actual / perceived conflicts of interests, especially in the context of connected party relationships and transactions.

The changes from 2013 are helpfully set out at pages 5 to 7 of the 2014 handbook and include: a recommendation that academy trusts have at least 5 members; a requirement that the business interests of trustees and members be published on the academy's website and the introduction of a £2,500 de minimis threshold in relation to the existing "at cost" requirements for connected party arrangements.

The new handbook can be accessed here.