Letter to Accounting Officers

Accounting Officers

The ESFA have released their letter to accounting officers in academy trusts. This is the first letter distributed since April and a lot has happened in that time. Schools have faced immense challenges in their collective goal to make a significant step towards normality in time for the return of pupils on a full-time basis from September.

In this letter the ESFA have summarised some key announcements that have come out since April. These include:

Support Package for Schools

A £1 billion catch-up scheme to support children who may have fallen behind due to lost teaching time was announced in June. A claims process is scheduled to be announced in the upcoming ESFA update.

School Resource Management Advisors

SRMAs to support schools with financial or resourcing challenges. These are optional visits that can be bespoke to your school to ease the impact of lost income during lockdown.

Academies Financial Handbook 2020 released

This was published in June to be in effect by 1st September 2020. There is a vast amount of new information to be aware of. The handbook can be found here.

Resuming ESFA Activities

Steps to be taken to ease the burden on academies due to Covid-19. This becomes more important as further pupils return to school. These steps include the ESFA completing audit and assurance visits remotely from October; the issuing and publication of financial notices recommencing as part of the ESFA intervention activities; and the changing of the date for the School resource management self-assessment tool (SRMSAT) from November 2020 to March 2021.

Financial Returns for 2020/21

The deadline for financial statements has not changed (31st December). This is because it plays such an important part in proving assurance to parliament in relation funding in this sector. So far, academy trusts are on track to meet this deadline which will enable them to concentrate on their other objectives for 2021. Deadlines for the year are however under constant review with the uncertainty over Covid-19’s future path.

To view the letter containing the above and more, click here or if you have any questions, please contact the service desk on 0345 222 1551 • Option 2, or email financeservicedesk@schoolbusinessservices.co.uk.

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