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Schools financial value standard (SFVS)

Standard assessment form

March 2015

 

Contents

Introduction                                                                                                                                       3

What do schools need to do?                                                                                               3

The role of local authorities                                                                                                   4

Timetable                                                                                                                                  4

The assessment form                                                                                                                   5

A: The governing body and school staff                                                                              5

B: Setting the budget                                                                                                              6

C: Value for money                                                                                                                  6

D: Protecting public money                                                                                                   7

Outcome of self-assessment                                                                                                       8

E: Summary of agreed remedial action and timetable for reporting back                   8

Introduction

The schools financial value standard (SFVS) is a mandatory requirement for local authority (LA) maintained schools.The SFVS has been designed with schools to help them in managing their finances and to give assurance that they have secure financial management in place.

Governing bodies of maintained schools or management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs) have formal responsibility for the financial management of their schools, and so the standard is primarily aimed at governors or management committees. Other schools are welcome to use any of the material associated with the standard, if they would find it useful.

What do schools need to do?

The standard consists of 25 questions which governing bodies or management committees should formally discuss annually with the headteacher and senior staff.

The questions which form the standard are in sections A to D. Each question requires an answer of Yes, In Part, or No.

·    If the answer is Yes, the comments column can be used to indicate the main evidence on which the governing body based its answer.

·    If the answer is No or In Part, the column should contain a very brief summary of the position and proposed remedial action.

In Section E, governors or management committees should summarise remedial actions and the timetable for reporting back. Governors or managing committees should ensure that each action has a specified deadline and an agreed owner. Governors or management committees must monitor the progress of these actions to ensure that all actions are cleared within specified deadlines.

The governing body or the management committee may delegate the consideration of the questions to finance or other relevant committee, but a detailed report should be provided to the full governing body or the management committee and the chair of governors or the chair of the management committee must sign the completed form.

The school must send a copy of the signed standard to their LA’s finance department.

There is no prescription of the level of evidence that the governing body or management committee should require. The important thing is that governors and the management committee are confident about their responses.

The role of local authorities

LAs will use schools’ SFVS returns to inform their programme of financial assessment and audit. The SFVS will not be externally assessed. LA and other auditors will have access to the standard, and when they conduct an audit can check whether the self-assessment is in line with their own judgement. Auditors should make the governing body, the management committee and the LA aware of any major discrepancies in judgements. Auditors should also ensure that all actions have been addressed before a SFVS review takes place for another year.

Timetable

The Directed Revisions 2012 to the Schemes for Financing Schools makes it a mandatory requirement for all local authority maintained schools to complete the SFVS assessment form on an annual basis and submit a signed copy (by the Chair of Governors or management committee) to their authority.

Support notes

Support notes are available for each question, which governing bodies can use if they wish. The notes provide clarification of the questions, examples of good practice and information on further support to assist schools in addressing specific issues.

The assessment form

School name: Castlewood Primary School

LA and school DfE numbers: 938 2249

List of questions

Answer

(yes/in part/no)

Comments, evidence and proposed actions

A: The governing body and school staff

1. In the view of the governing body itself and of senior staff, does the governing body have adequate financial skills among its members to fulfil its role of challenge and support in the field of budget management and value for money?

YES

JS/CR attended budget courses, understands statutory requirements.

NB, School Governor is an Accountant.

2. Does the governing body have a finance committee (or equivalent) with clear terms of reference and a knowledgeable and experienced chair?

YES

SS, Chair of Governors/ NB, chair of finance, both have financial experience.

3. Is there a clear definition of the relative responsibilities of the governing body and the school staff in the financial field?

YES

Matrix completed for Staff: JS/CR/LB

Matrix completed for Governors: SS/NB

4. Does the governing body receive clear and concise monitoring reports of the school’s budget position at least three times a year?

YES

JS/CR report on the current budget with Q&A session once a term at the Resources Committee meetings.

5. Are business interests of governing body members and staff properly registered and taken into account so as to avoid conflicts of interest?

YES

Staff Register of business interests recorded. File kept in office for staff. Also Governors file kept in office.

6. Does the school have access to an adequate level of financial expertise, including when specialist finance staff are absent, eg on sick leave?

YES

Schools Financial Support Peripatetic Bursar Scheme used.

7. Does the school review its staffing structure regularly?

YES

Reviewed annually with Governors attached at the end of the Pay Policy.

8. Have your pay decisions been reached in accordance with a pay policy reflecting clear performance criteria?

YES

Evidence of discussions in Pay Committee – Autumn Term 2015 Minutes. Pay Performance and standards documents used to support decision.

9. Has the use of professional independent advice informed part of the pay decision process in relation to the headteacher?

YES

SBS Independent Advise Autumn 2015 with Governors Reviewing HT’s Performance.

B: Setting the budget

10. Is there a clear and demonstrable link between the school’s budgeting and its plan for raising standards and attainment?

YES

Where there is a job share we have made sure that both teachers overlap on one day to ensure good handover and also good quality of teaching and learning.

11. Does the school make a forward projection of budget, including both revenue and capital funds, for at least three years, using the best available information?

YES

Projected 3 Year Budget is produced using the best information available details in Bursar’s Budget File.

12. Does the school set a well-informed and balanced budget each year (with an agreed and timed plan for eliminating any deficit)?

YES

Budget is discussed with Governors and if in agreement, approved each Spring Term for the financial year.

13. Is end year outturn in line with budget projections, or if not, is the governing body alerted to significant variations in a timely manner, and do they result from explicitly planned changes or from genuinely unforeseeable circumstances?

YES

Clear discussions are made with JS/CR/Governors of any changes, unforeseeable circumstances.

C: Value for money

14. Does the school benchmark its income and expenditure annually against that of similar schools and investigate further where any category appears to be out of line?

YES

Benchmarking Schools: St. Mary and

St. Johns’, Horsham. Similar income and expenditures. Also the DfE produce a Benchmarking Report Card for similar schools enabling good comparisons.

15. Does the school have procedures for purchasing goods and services that both meet legal requirements and secure value for money?

YES

Value for money is applied. Whole life cost of purchase is considered. Cheapest purchase is not always the best.

16. Are balances at a reasonable level and does the school have a clear plan for using the money it plans to hold in balances at the end of each year?

YES

We address the School Development Plan. Statement is presented to Schools Finance at year end of any balances and planned expenditure.

17. Does the school maintain its premises and other assets to an adequate standard to avoid future urgent need for replacement?

YES

Best Value for money is always applied. Consider options for every purchase. PDP meeting takes place once a year. JS/PS monitor premises re: maintenance.

18. Does the school consider collaboration with others, eg on sharing staff or joint purchasing, where that would improve value for money?

YES

O Track assessment system bought jointly with 9 schools – value for money. Joint purchase of Training Courses – ePD trust – Millais.

19. Can the school give examples of where it has improved the use of resources during the past year?

YES

Additional Resources Purchased:

6 X iPads /Fictional books for library area /PE equipment for all Key Stages.

D: Protecting public money

20. Is the governing body sure that there are no outstanding matters from audit reports or from previous consideration of weaknesses by the governing body?

YES

If action is required from an Audit report it is dealt with in a timely manner.

21. Are there adequate arrangements in place to guard against fraud and theft by staff, contractors and suppliers (please note any instance of fraud or theft detected in the last 12 months)?

YES

Tight procedures in place to ensure that not only one person is responsible in financial area – several breaks in chain.

22. Are all staff aware of the school’s whistleblowing arrangements and to whom they should report concerns?

YES

All staff aware of Confidential Reporting – (Whistleblowing) report to JS next review date March 2016

23. Does the school have an accounting system that is adequate and properly run and delivers accurate reports, including the annual Consistent Financial Reporting return?

YES

Annual visit from Schools Financial Services ensures the accurate figures to produce the annual CFR

24. Does the school have adequate arrangements for audit of voluntary funds?

YES

School is audited on annual basis from an outside Accountant

25. Does the school have an appropriate business continuity or disaster recovery plan, including an up-to-date asset register and adequate insurance?

YES

School Insurance by WSCC.

Emergency Plan reviewed Dec 2015

Asset Register- ICT plus electrical portable appliances kept in office. (Advised from Keith Phillips – Audit Office).

Outcome of self-assessment

E: Summary of agreed remedial action and timetable for reporting back

Julia Slocombe (Headteacher), Cath Robertson(Bursar) discussed SFVS on 10th February 2016.

Nicki Brown, (Chair of Governors Finance Committee), Cath Robertson (Bursar) discussed SFVS on 11th February 2016 in preparation of discussions at the Resources Committee meeting on 3rd March 2016.

Changes made:

A.The Governing Body & School Staff– 1.  Includes that Nicki Brown (Governor) is an Accountant.

B.Setting the Budget – 10.  Where there is a job share we have made sure that both teachers overlap on one day to ensure a good handover and also good quality of teaching and learning.

      D. Protecting Public Money – 22.  Whistleblowing now comes under Confidential Reporting.

Signature                                                               Chair of Governors / Management Committee

Print full name of signatory: Sarah Speed (Chair of Governors)

Print date SFVS agreed by full governing body/management committee: 3rd March 2016

Date SFVS submitted to LA for review. 4th March 2016

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© Crown copyright 2015

You may re-use this document/publication (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence v2.0. Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.

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Reference:        EFA-00133-2015

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