Internal scrutiny service

A key part of the Financial Handbook for Academies is the requirement to have a programme of checks in place that ensure internal systems and processes are effective.  This has been termed internal scrutiny and the Ensors Academies team can support you in ensuring your Academy Trust meets the demands of the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

There are three key areas that internal scrutiny for Academy Trusts needs to focus on:

  1. evaluation of financial and non-financial controls to ensure their suitability and compliance;
  2. reporting findings to the Board and providing advice on how to address any weaknesses; and
  3. identification and management of all risk categories.

And, depending on your Trust’s circumstances, there are four ways you can deliver internal scrutiny.  You can:

  1. employ an in-house internal auditor;
  2. buy-in an internal audit service from a third party;
  3. appoint a non-employed trustee to carry out the work; or
  4. use a chief financial officer from another Academy Trust to carry out a peer review.  If this option is chosen, you must ensure that the Trust providing the reviewer has a good standard of governance and financial management itself.  The basis for your choice must also be recorded.

How Ensors Academies team can help

Acting as a third party, we will work alongside your finance team to ensure your Academy Trust meets the requirements under internal scrutiny.
Using a modular approach we will review risk areas that may include:

  • Payroll;
  • Expenditure;
  • Income;
  • Assets; and
  • Governance.

Each module is discrete and we will agree in advance with you what the scope of the review should be to ensure your specific requirements are met and your risks addressed.  This will enable us to provide a detailed quote for the work and a structured timescale tailored to your needs.
Finally, at the end of the review we will present a clear and concise report that adopts a ‘traffic light’ system to show the effectiveness and application of your Trust’s internal control policies, together with any recommendations for improvement.

For more detailed information about what is required under internal scrutiny please refer to the Academies Financial Handbook 2020.

Alternatively contact one of our Academy experts Barry Gostling and Helen Rumsey who will be happy to help.