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Governor Live Review: Systems & controls and the Academies Financial Handbook

Governor Live Review: Systems & controls and the Academies Financial Handbook

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The sixth Governor Live event of 2017 –  Systems & controls and the Academies Financial Handbook – took place last Thursday evening, the 27th of April. Karen Rae – chair of finance at a secondary Academy and Audit & Assurance Director for Armstrong Watson – spent half an hour exploring what good financial systems and controls including:

  • What is an internal control system?
  • Key features of internal controls
  • The Academies Financial Handbook

This was then followed by our usual time of questions and discussion – the recording of which and slides from are below.

Useful for academies and maintained schools

The information in this session isn’t just for academies – good systems and controls are essential in maintained schools as well – and the session is essential for governors in maintained schools wanting to understand the additional responsibilities those in academy governance have. The absence of good systems and controls was an obvious issue in the collapse of Kids Company – and on the same day as our session on financial systems and controls, a National Audit Office report into the collapse of another charity detailed what the NAO described as “chaotic” management and “ineffective” management processes:

Presentation slides

Here are the slides from Karen’s presentation, reproduced and shared with permission:

Questions asked by participants

Karen answered all of these questions – view the recordings further down the page to see the answers.

  • Some assets are bound to have a shelf-life – replacing them is usuaully considered capex (capital expenditure), but can we ever consider some of them as opex (operational expenditure)? Are there any clear guides on this?
  • Our academy had a rotating CEO, based on the model agreed at the time. We now have to move to a single CEO – does that mean we have to pay for the role and this seems to be money we could better spend on children. Is it possible to a MAT to move to a co-op model do you know?
  • Can external audit be considered to provide a truly independent review of internal controls?
  • Our school is part of a MAT and currently many financial processes are devolved to Trust Directors. Would Local Governors still be expected to ensure internal controls are in place?

Watch the recording

There are two options for viewing the record. The first is on the Modern Governor Adobe Connect server, and allows you to search the text of the slides and discussion between participants during the event. This requires the Adobe Flash Player and therefore won’t work on a smartphone or tablet. If you attended the live event on your computer, then you’ll be able to watch this version.

A more accessible but less interactive version of the recording is available on the Modern Governor YouTube channel:

The next Governor Live session: Governors handbook and competency framework 2017 – the do’s and don’ts

On Thursday the 18th of May at 8pm Michelle Gray of berg – who has led previous Governor Live events including our Employment Law Update – will be presenting the next Governor Live session entitled Governors handbook and competency framework 2017 – the do’s and don’ts. Here’s her introduction to this session:

Michelle Gray

The foreword to the Competency Framework for Governance issued in January 2017, states:

‘The importance and significance of outstanding governance and leadership across our education system is, in every school in England, has never been greater.  The role of governing boards in defining and implementing strategy whilst holding the leaders of schools and trusts to account has to the foundation upon which world class education system is built.’

The new competency framework seeks to define more clearly what good governance means in schools.  This Governor Live session will cover:

  • The framework;
  • The differences from existing frameworks;
  • What the differences mean in practical terms;
  • The future of good governance.

Register for Governors handbook and competency framework 2017 – the do’s and don’ts

and don’t forget to browse the extensive list of upcoming Governor Live events – all free to sign up for and take part in, and open to governors, trustees and senior leadership teams.

Image credit: based on an image by Kaique RochaCC0 from

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