Have you booked your summer holidays yet? Will you be travelling by aeroplane, train or car?
Let’s assume it is air travel, in which case, consider the following statements found on the internet in connection with your chosen airline – would any of these cause alarm bells to ring? Would you think again as to whether you still book your nearest and dearest on the flight?
'Running an airline means we are always managing risk, day in and day out, but there is no need to create systems to record how we do this, that is just further bureaucracy – just trust us so we can get on with it!.
'We are pleased to say that we have had the same board members at the airline for the last 12 years, in fact since we started the business, there is no need to change them, that would be a retrograde step. The Board know us well and we know them well – in fact I have known some of the non-executives all of my life.
'We accept that there were a few omissions, errors and inaccuracies in the airline accounts and annual report, but let’s not get over excited and make something of nothing, after all nobody really cares except the auditors.
'The regulator just doesn’t understand our business, the regulator treats all airlines as if they are the same, where as our airline is different!'.
Now take any of the statements above and replace 'airline' with 'academy'.
- Would you trust that academy with your child?
- Would you feel confident that the academy does the right thing?
- Would you feel assured that they look after and make best use of public money and resources?
- What lies below those statements?
- What else could go wrong?
- What risks could materialise at the academy?
The accounting officer must be the bastion of good governance for the academy. This includes taking personal responsibility for assuring the trustees that there is compliance with the Academies financial handbook (AFH); a responsibility that 'must not be delegated'. Academy trusts and accounting officers should remember compliance with the handbook is a requirement in the trusts’ funding agreement with the Secretary of State. Annex C of the AFH contains all of the 'musts' that any academy must adhere to, in addition to the 'should' requirements, to which the academy should have due regard.
Download the full report to discover how to implement a throughout and proactive governance and financial management assessment.