April is the start of the traditional financial year for many public sector bodies, though not of course for academies. Never the less, Government has introduced some new arrangements for academies that we highlight in this week’s blog.
Academies’ Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) – Not an insurance policy!
This has been referred to as risking pooling, and relates to insurance arrangements for academies. However, the proposed Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) is not an insurance scheme but a mechanism through which the cost of risks that materialise from 1 September 2014 will be covered by government funds.
All academy trusts and multi-academy trusts can opt in to the Department for Education’s risk protection arrangement. This includes free schools, faith schools that are academies, special academies, alternative provision academies, UTCs, studio schools and Private Finance Initiative (PFI) academy trusts.
The RPA will reimburse academies in the event of a loss outlined in the ‘Academies risk protection arrangement scope’ document. These losses include:
- loss or damage to property (including minor works)
- increased cost of working following damage to property
- legal liability to pay compensation to employees for death or injury due to employment with the academy (including as a result of exposure to asbestos)
- legal liability to pay compensation to third parties for death, injury or property damage (including as a result of abuse or exposure to asbestos)
- loss of money and personal baggage whilst travelling on academy business in the UK
- loss of academy property due to employee dishonesty
For details of the Academies Risk Protection Arrangement, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/301564/Risk_protection_arrangement_scope.pdf
National Insurance – New Employment Allowance
The prime minister has written to businesses and charities to explain the new Employment Allowance that could take £2,000 off National Insurance Contributions. The scheme is designed to cut the cost of employing someone and help to grow the economy.
Employers will need to sign up to the scheme. All the details are provided online at https://www.gov.uk/employment-allowance
Non Domestic Rates
A claim form for 2014/2015 Non Domestic Rates is now available – visit https://www.gov.uk/funding-payments-for-academies#national-non-domestic-rates
To make a claim, academies will need their URN (available from Edubase) and their rates bills for the 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015 financial years so they can give the values for both years in full (i.e. prior to any rebate being applied and for the full 12-month period). Only the bill values are required when making a claim, the EFA does not need a copy of the actual bills. You should however hold these records and provide them where necessary for audit purposes.
I am sure you will have seen or heard David Laws speech on proposals for school funding from 2015/2016. The case for change is that:
‘For too long, the school funding system has been based on historical data that was out of date and no longer reflected pupils’ needs. This has resulted in a system that is opaque, overly complex, and is frankly unfair to pupils, parents and teachers. Sometimes similar schools just miles apart can be funded at very different levels, just because they happen to be in different local authority areas. In other cases, schools with many disadvantaged pupils can end up being funded at a level well below a nearby school in an affluent catchment.’
If you are interested in knowing how your local authority compares to those around you, the DfE has published local authorities block funding formula for 2014 to 2015 – visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-block-funding-formulae-2014-to-2015
Within information on the Gov.uk there is a handy reminder of the Financial Returms academies need to complete during the year – visit https://www.gov.uk/academies-financial-returns
The DfE are planning webinars for academies – the first ones in May will support completion of the March Accounts Return, with later ones planned to support the 2014-2015 Budget Forecast. To register visit – https://registration.livegroup.co.uk/academyfinance/
If you prefer your support face to face with practical examples, School Business Services provide a range of courses to support School Business Managers – visit http://www.schoolbusinessservices.co.uk/training/finance/
We can also provide support on site, or if there are a group of schools in your area wanting help, we would be pleased to hear from you. Give us a call on 0845 300 8179.
After a number of international comparisons have suggested the relative poor performance of schools in England, it great to hear that England’s teenagers are “significantly above average” in problem-solving skills. In tests of how pupils can apply their knowledge, the OECD puts England 11th in the world, the second highest in Europe, behind Finland, and ahead of international competitors like the USA.
For further details visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-26823184
If you have a problem with Finance, MIS or ICT, and you its not are area where your pupil’s talents can excel then speak to us a School Business Services – visit http://www.schoolbusinessservices.co.uk/contact-us/ or call us on 0845 300 8179.
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