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Academies Accounts Direction 2020 – Supplementary Bulletin re Covid-19

Review of key points

The ESFA has released a supplementary bulletin to Academies Accounts Direction 2019 to 2020 which provides guidance to trustees, accounting officers and their external auditors on matters arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bulletin which is available here has the same status as the AAD itself and will necessitate various additional disclosures in the 2020 Annual Financial Statements.

Procurement policy notes and value for money

Under Procurement Policy Notes PPN 02/20 and PPN 04/20, academy trusts were given consent to make payments for supplies in advance of need where its accounting officer was satisfied that a value for money case was made by virtue of securing continuity of supply of critical services in the medium and long term. Examples of such costs could include exam board fees.

Required disclosure:

In their value for money review in the governance statements in the Annual Financial Statements, Accounting Officers must mention cases when the PPNs have been applied by their trust. They should also explain any situations where Covid-19 has adversely impacted on value for money, if applicable

Trustees report – impact of Covid-19

The trustees’ report will need some disclosure of the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the trust.

The bulletin suggests 10 possible areas of disclosure including the following:

  • How the outbreak of the virus has affected staff, volunteers and beneficiaries (such as the academy trust’s pupils) and the implications for the academy trust’s operations and activities for the coming year
  • Consideration of the likely impact of the virus control measures and potential duration of the control measures on the future aims and activities of the academy trus

See Part 3 of the bulletin for the full list of possible disclosure points

Financial support for Covid-19

Any financial support received by an academy trust under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and / or the Coronavirus Exceptional Costs funding will need to be disclosed on separate lines in the note to the accounts, Funding for the academy trust’s educational operations’. An explanatory note for each such source of income will be required below the income table and the income should be treated as restricted. See section 4.1.2 of the Bulletin for an illustrative note.

Any other funding which the academy trust has received to support its Covid-19 response should be disclosed in a separate line in the same note and we envisage that this would include the notional income in relation to the laptops provided by the Government for certain Year 10 students

Where academy trusts have participated in the national free school meals voucher scheme (Edenred), they have acted as a facilitator for the distribution of vouchers from the scheme provider to the parents of eligible pupils. No additional disclosure of this is required because the trusts did not incur expenditure or receive funding in this respect. However, trusts may choose to include some narrative around their involvement in the scheme as part of their trustees’ report.