A new place for the latest news. Regular readers of the SBS Finance Blog will have noticed that the blog is now available within the main School Business Services website. We will continue to provide the same summary of news from the education sector as it affects your finances.
However, why not look at the other SBS contributors who blog about ICT, SIMS and our planning tool, SBS Online. Sign up to all four blogs and keep at the forefront of developments – visit www.schoolbusinessservices.co.uk/blog
EFA Round Up For July
In previous blogs I have referred to the following month’s items from the EFA Business Planner. Since the election it appears that this planner is not being updated, with the EFA business cycle being replaced by the online calendar, available to education institutions via the EFA Information Exchange. The following activity is expected in July:
1 July – EFA will publish
- Final UIFSM allocations for 2014-15
- Provisional UIFSM allocations for 2015-16
- Final pupil premium allocations for 2015-16
6 July – EFA Payments
- Pupil premium: first payment made for 2015 to 2016
- Summer schools: first payment made for 2015 to 2016
- Universal infant free school meals: second payment made for 2014 to 2015
10 July – Event: webinar for academies on the financial framework
31 July – Deadline: academy trusts’ budget forecasts due 31 July 2015
Regular updates from the EFA can be obtained by signing up to their e-bulletin – click here for details.
Quick links below to a number of recently published documents:
- 2015-16 Budget Return, Online Form & Guidance
- Academies Accounts Direction
- National Non Domestic Rates Claims
- 16-19 Bursary Fund – Vulnerable Student Claims
Accounts Direction 2014-2015
As an aide memoir to help those preparing Accounts, we have summarised below the main changes in the recently published Direction from last year’s Direction. There is though no substitute for reading the Direction and discussing actions with your Auditors ahead on the year end in August.
- Auditors should inform NAO and EFA if they are issuing a qualified audit report or a modified regularity opinion to the academy trust, after discussing this with the trustees.
- The auditor’s report within the model accounts (Coketown) has been amended to clarify that it should be addressed to the members of the academy trust.
- The Accounts Direction has been clarified so that it applies to all types of academy trust with a funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education
- The governance statement re-emphasises that academy trusts must carry out a governance review in their first year and should also be doing this annually as a matter of best practice
- A new section has been introduced about value for money into the governance statement. This replaces the requirement for trusts to publish separate value for money statements, which are withdrawn from the year ended 31 August 2015
- The Coketown disclosure note for donations has been split between fixed asset donations and other donations
- The EFA have illustrated in Coketown how loans and creditors due after more than one year should be disclosed
- The EFA have updated the list of funding streams that comprise General Annual Grant (GAG) for the purposes of calculating amounts carried forward at year end
- Individual disclosure of non-contractual severance payments should now be made on an individual basis regardless of value
- The EFA have clarified that the disclosure of trustee remuneration includes employer pension contributions
- The EFA have clarified that if a multi-academy trust’s (MAT’s) funding agreement applies the GAG carry over restriction at the overall trust level, rather than at the individual academy level, then the carry over note need only report at the overall trust level
- A new section has been introduced on connected charities
- The EFA have revised the section on accounting for buildings and provided additional guidance on buildings occupied by church academies, based on the substance of the arrangement rather than on its legal form [
- Also there are are new sections on accounting for academy combinations and dissolutions, agency arrangements and risk protection arrangements.
Government Help With Childcare Costs
As you will be aware there are a number of changes effecting Government Support for Childcare Costs.
First, from the Autumn of 2015 there will be changes to the Childcare Voucher Scheme. The current Employer Supported Childcare scheme allows working parents, who are not self-employed, to claim support to pay for registered childcare providers. The vouchers, worth up to £243 a month, can be bought by each parent from their salary before tax. For basic rate taxpayers, this can mean an annual saving of £930.
In the autumn, the scheme will be replaced with a new “top-up” payment, where working families will be able to claim government support worth 20p for every £1 they spend on childcare. It will be available for single parents with a salary of up to £150,000 or couples with a combined salary of up to £300,000, including self-employed people. However, families where one parent stays at home will not be eligible, though as they eligible under current arrangements, such families should ensure they sign up before the change.
The new Tax-Free Childcare scheme will operate alongside the existing Working Tax Credits, aimed at the lowest-income households, while the voucher scheme will close to new entrants and be slowly wound down.
The benefit to Employers of reduced NI contributions will also disappear with the new scheme.
More recently the Government announced that it would be fast-tracking its new Childcare Bill, which will entitle working parents to 30 hours’ free childcare per week for three and four year olds, up to 1,140 hours per year. The change had been planned for September 2017, but some working parents will be selected to trial the system in September 2016.
Many commentators are concerned that the funding proposed will not be sufficient for schools and playgroups to deliver the additional hours. The bill has already drawn criticism from the House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, which described the bill as ‘flawed’ and ‘vague’. This is certainly an area schools and academies will need to watch over the coming year if it provides early year’s childcare.