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ESFA to take firmer stance on non-compliance

14 December 2017

The new Accounting Officer of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), Eileen Milner, in her first letter to academy trusts has stated that the ESFA will take a harder line on trusts that fail to submit the various financial returns on time. Currently 95% of trusts submit their financial returns before the deadline but from this year the ESFA will publish a list of those trusts that failed to make the various deadlines for the returns. Trusts that fail to meet two or more deadlines for returns will be placed on the list for that year with each list being published in the September for the previous years’ returns.

Academy trusts need to ensure they are meeting all of the required return deadlines stated by the ESFA. These include the deadlines for the budget forecast return, the accounts return and the financial statements submission. It is clear that the ESFA’s change of stance to publish the name of trusts that do not comply is a way to ‘name and shame’ with a view to increasing the proportion of trusts that get their returns in on time.

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