Good financial management is critical to a school’s success and Governors have a statutory responsibility for the oversight of financial management. This is set out in S.21 of the Education Act 2002.
A considerable amount of information about the school’s finances is available within the school, on the local Barnet website and via links to national websites. There are also a variety of sources of information for governors either wanting to know more about school finances generally or answer specific questions. This section gives a brief introduction and gives links to other information.
The Financial Framework
All maintained schools will, by the end of 2010, be required to have meet the national Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS).
The background to this and its implementation in Barnet can be found on the Barnet website (See Barnet School Funding Website via Financial Framework)
Within Barnet all schools are obliged to operate within the requirements of the Scheme for Financing Schools, which sets out the financial relationship between the authority and the maintained schools which it funds, it is binding on both the authority and on schools. It can be viewed on the website (See Barnet School Funding Website via Financial Framework)
Detailed operational requirements and advice to schools on finance and accounting matters is contained in the Barnet Financial Guide for Schools, although governors would not normally get involved in operational details it may be used to clarify points of interest or concern. It can be viewed on the website (See Barnet School Funding Website via Financial Framework)
School Financial Policy & Procedures
The Governing Body has responsibility for overall financial management of the school and must ensure the requirements of the Scheme and associated guidance from the Chief Finance Officer are met. In order to meet these requirements the school has its own Financial Management Policy and Procedures document for internal use which is approved by the Governing Body. The Governing Body monitors its Policy and Procedures is implemented.
The Governing Body has considered the extent to which it wishes to delegate its financial powers to Committees, individual governors, the Head teacher or other staff, and the details of the Committees terms of reference and staff’s financial responsibilities are set out in the Financial Management Policy and Procedures document, a copy of which is available from the Chair of Governors or Head Teacher
Schools are funded by the government (DCSF) via local authorities which receive the Dedicated Schools Grant. This grant funds schools and other central education items such as early years, Pupil Referral Units and independent special school places. The Individual School Budgets (or Budget Shares) are allocated to schools on the basis of a local formula within a national framework. The Budget Share is the largest source of state funding but is supplemented by various Standards Fund grants which include the School Standards Grant and the School Development Grant. Details of the Budget Share and grants can be found on the Barnet website (See Barnet School Funding Website via Financial Framework) according to the relevant financial year, e.g. 2014/15 Financial Year.
Using the Budget Share and grants, supplemented school based income, e.g. catering, lettings etc the school is required to set a balanced budget approved by the governing body before the beginning of the financial year and submitted to the local authority by 1st May each year.
The school’s budget is monitored by the Finance Committee on a termly basis and a copy of the budget can be obtained from the Headteacher/school bursar.
The school has adopted the Council’s Whistleblowing Policy and Code of Practice to be followed by persons working at a school or school governors, who wish to complain about financial management or financial propriety at the school. Complaints can be made to the Headteacher, or Chair of Governors at the school; or, to the Council’s Whistleblowing Officer – Head of the Corporate Anti Fraud Team (CAFT), or, the Council’s Monitoring Officer – the Borough Solicitor.
The Council’s Whistleblowing contact details are:
Telephone 020 8359 6123.
Address: Corporate Anti-Fraud Team, Building 4, North London Business Park, London N11 1NP
Details of the policy and code of practice of how such complaints will be dealt with are included in the Financial Guide for Schools.
The Governing Body has established a register, which lists for each member of the Governing Body, the head teacher and any member of staff who is authorised to enter into a contract on behalf of the school, any material business interests they or any member of their immediate family have. The register is be kept up to date with notification of changes and through an annual review of entries.
At each governors meeting there is the opportunity for those present to declare an interest in any item on the agenda.